Acclaimed writer to deliver masterclasses to students in School of English.
The Booker prize-winning author Ben Okri has taken up the mantle of Visiting Professor for the University of Leicester’s School of English.
Mr Okri will stay in the post for two years, and during that time he will deliver master classes to BA and MA students.
He will also be involved with other School of English events, including the annual Literary Leicester Festival, which will be into its fifth year this coming November.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess said: “I am delighted to welcome Ben Okri as a Visiting Professor to the University of Leicester. It will be a real advantage to the School of English to have a highly acclaimed author working with our students and will enable them to access his work at first hand.
“I hope Ben enjoys his time working with our students as I know they will with him. They will have an opportunity to discuss his work, and that of other high quality writers.”
The Nigerian-born writer has published ten novels and numerous collections of short fiction, poetry and essays, including last year’s A Time for New Dreams, and a new collection of poetry for 2012, Wild.
He won the Booker Prize for Fiction, with his 1991 novel The Famished Road, and a 1987 Commonwealth Prize for Incidents at the Shrine, among many other awards and honours. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded an OBE in 2001 for his services to literature.
The University offered the Visiting Professorship to Mr Okri after he gave the inaugural Annual Creative Writing Lecture in the School of English last October to a very enthusiastic audience of students, staff and the Leicester public.
Dr Harry Whitehead, Lecturer in Creative Writing, said: “The School of English is delighted that Ben Okri has agreed to become Visiting Professor with us for the next two years. At the forefront of postcolonial writing, with extensive publications of fiction, poetry and essays, and an inspiring speaker, we are certain Mr Okri’s connection with our School will motivate students both on our creative writing courses and beyond.
“This is not only a wonderful moment for the School of English and the University of Leicester, but also for the city of Leicester more generally. To have such a leading figure in postcolonial literature linked to our multicultural city is a validation of the successes Leicester has achieved in integration and mutual tolerance.”
From University of Leicester Press Office.