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An evening with Ben Okri and Chris Meredith in Chepstow, Wales

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***Fascinating notes for: Chris Meredith (waleslitexchange.org/en/authors/view/meredith-christopher)and Ben Okri (benokri.co.uk/)

It was promoted by the NACOT –ON THE BORDER (www.nacot.org.uk/) as an evening with Ben Okri and Chris Meredith on June 7th, 2014. And it was quite an evening too. The audience was privy to live readings by Ben Okri, the acclaimed Booker Prize winner, poet/novelist of The Famished Road, Infinite Riches (and so many other beloved works). Still, there was the bestowal of another literary honor, for the parishioners, in the form of Chris Meredith, Wales’ own novelist, poet, and translator. Meredith won the Wales Young Writer Prize and the Prize for Fiction. His novels Shifts and Griffi are still staples in Welsh and British literary collections.

In the Drill Hall, in Chepstow, listeners were transformed to another time and place through the magic of poetry and verse. Chris Meredith provided the audience with stories of his life as a teacher, writer of love poems, Welsh activist, and environmentalist. His poems were songs of his life and his love for Wales and his home in Brecon. During a private chat with a former colleague, he revealed that he is now a proud grandfather of a baby girl. He spoke intensely and graciously to all that came to chat with him. Ben Okri entered the hall quietly, but enthusiastically. He read his poetry from earlier times to the present. With a strong, impelling voice he channeled his life and his wisdom through his works.

Ben Okri was the original subject of my dissertation in the UK. However, the work experienced a major metamorphosis upon completion in Spain. Still, Ben Okri remained a favorite writer and I always paired his works with the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as I taught. Readers will forever be transformed through the Magical Realism of 100 Years of Solitude and The Famished Road. Chris Meredith became a new, favorite writer introduced to me through his devotion to the Welsh language and culture.
One can look forward to more intimate, literary evenings with NACOT-ON THE BORDER. Information is available at:
www.poetryontheborder.org

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