Helon Habila

Helon Habila is that rare combination of storyteller and stylist who challenges expectations while deepening our empathy for ordinary people confronting extraordinary times.

Helon Habila is the author of three novels. He was Arts Editor of Nigeria’s Vanguard Newspaper when his short story “Love Poems” won the 2001 Caine Prize, garnering him international attention as one of the most exciting new voices in contemporary fiction. The story was excerpted from his first novel, Waiting for an Angel (2002), itself about a Nigerian journalist’s literary ambitions threatened by a repressive military regime. Waiting was awarded the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Region). That year Habila was also invited to serve as the first African Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia, and in 2006 he co-edited the British Council’s collection NW14: The Anthology of New Writing. His second novel Measuring Time (2007) won the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction. In 2011, he published his latest novel Oil on Water and edited The Granta Book of the African Short Story. He is currently Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University and returns to Nigeria each summer to teach a writing workshop.

I had heard of the Windham-Campbell Prize before, but never in my wildest thoughts did I ever imagine I was on their radar. It is an honor to know that one's work is appreciated at such a level, that one's work matters. As Shakespeare wrote: 'Our praises are our wages.' This is the highest praise indeed, for which I am most grateful. HELON HABILA