Ben Okri

PEN Nigeria has endorsed Ben Okri’s bid to be president of PEN International at the elections in September this year.

PEN International is a worldwide association of writers to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere founded in London, UK in 1921. Every year the organisation, with autonomous International PEN centers in over 100 countries, hosts an international congress to bring together its membership. This year’s congress, which runs from September 20-25, will be the 87th extraordinary Congress of PEN International; it would also double as the centenary celebration of PEN International.

Apart from the special occasion of the centenary, this year will also see the election replacing current president Jennifer Clement who took up the role in 2015. The presidency, which typically runs for six years, has started attracting candidates from across the writing world. One of these will be Booker Prize winner Ben Okri who was endorsed by Nigerian PEN. That endorsement followed an emergency Congress held on April 17 by members of PEN Nigeria where it was resolved that;

  • PEN Nigeria will fully participate in the 87th extraordinary Congress of PEN International scheduled to be held between September 20 and 25, 2021.
  • That PEN Nigeria has — after deliberating over the candidacy of two members: Ben Okri, an acclaimed Nigerian poet and novelist based in the United Kingdom, and Chigozie Obioma, a US-based Nigerian novelist who only joined PEN Nigeria in February 2021, and has not been known to most members of the Centre — unanimously endorsed Ben Okri who communicated his interest/intention to run for the office of the Presidency of PEN International in the upcoming elections.

We wish Ben Okri all the best in ascending to one of the most prestigious posts in world letters.