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Helon Habila

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Helon Habila was born in Nigeria in 1967. He studied literature at the University of Jos and taught at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, before moving to Lagos to work as a journalist. In Lagos he wrote his first novel, Waiting for an Angel, which won the Caine Prize in 2001.

Waiting for an Angel has been translated into many languages including Dutch, Italian, Swedish, and French. In 2002, he moved to England to become the African Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia.

After his fellowship he enrolled for a PhD in Creative Writing. His writing has won many prizes including the Commonwealth Writers Prize, 2003.

In 2005-2006 he was the first Chinua Achebe Fellow at Bard College in New York. He is a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review, and in 2006 he co-edited the British Council's anthology, NW14: The Anthology of New Writing, Volume 14. His second novel, Measuring Time, was published in February 2007.

<>He currently teaches Creative Writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and children.


Prison Stories (2000), Epik Books

Waiting for an Angel: A Novel (2004), Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-101006-1

New Writing 14 (2006), Granta Books (co-edited with Lavinia Greenlaw).

Measuring Time: A Novel (2007), W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-05251-6.

Dreams, Miracles, and Jazz: An Anthology of New Africa Fiction (2007),

Pan Macmillan (co-edited with Kadija George).

Oil on Water: A Novel (2010), Hamish Hamilton, ISBN 978-0-241-14486-2. Published in the US (2011) by W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 978-0-393-33964-2

The Granta Book of the African Short Story (2011), Granta. ISBN 1-84708-247-5; ISBN 978-1-84708-247-3

The Chibok Girls (2017), Penguin Books. ISBN 9780241980897, OCLC 960835954

Travelers: A Novel (2019), W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-23959-1

Awards and honors

2000 Music Society of Nigeria (MUSON) national poetry award

2001 Caine Prize, "Love Poems"

2003 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Africa category, Waiting for an Angel

2007 Emily Clark Balch Prize (short story), from Virginia Quarterly Review, "The Hotel Malogo"

2008 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction, Measuring Time

2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize, shortlist, Oil on Water

2012 Orion Book Award, shortlist, Oil on Water

2012 PEN/Open Book Award, shortlist, Oil on Water

2015 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize (Fiction) valued at $150,000

2019 Grand Prix of Literary Associations, Shortlisted with Travelers.

2020 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, shortlist, Travelers.