46 pages 1 hour read

Ben Okri

In the Shadow of War

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1983

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“In the Shadow of War”

  • Genre: Fiction; magical realism
  • Originally Published: 1983
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 620L; grades 11-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: Approx. 10 pages
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: As a young boy living during the Nigerian civil war, Omovo follows a veiled woman through the forest to find out if she is a spy, as some soldiers have told him. The soldiers follow her, too, and Omovo witnesses an incident that reveals the horror of war.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: War violence; civil war; starvation

Ben Okri, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1959; Nigerian-born British poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer, anthologist, aphorist, and playwright; work is classified as post-modern/post-colonial with characters and events influenced by Okri’s childhood in Nigeria during the country’s civil war; later works moved from realism to an incorporation of more magical and fantastical elements (magical realism); his short story “In the Shadow of War” was first published in the London magazine West Africa and was revised for publication in the anthology Stars of the New Curfew; winner of numerous national and international prizes, including the Booker Prize for Fiction (1991); Royal Society of Literature (1997); Order of the British Empire (2001)
  • Other Works: Stars of the New Curfew (1988); The Famished Road (1991); A Way of Being Free (1997); Starbook (2007); A Time for New Dreams (2011)