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The Booker Prizes Backlist

The Booker Prize 1991

The Winner

The Famished Road

By Ben Okri

Published by Cape 

The narrator, Azaro, is an abiku, a spirit child, who in the Yoruba tradition of Nigeria exists between life and death. The life he foresees for himself and the tale he tells are full of sadness and tragedy, but inexplicably he is born with a smile on his face. Nearly called back to the realm of the dead, he is resurrected to confront the tension between the land of the living, often joyful despite violence and political struggles, and the temptations of the carefree kingdom of the spirits.


The Shortlist

The 1991 Judges

Jeremy Treglown (Chair)

Penelope Fitzgerald

Jonathan Keates

Nicholas Mosley

Ann Schlee