Nigerian writer Helon Habila will visit Moravian College for a discussion and a reading from his most recent novel Oil on Water, Wednesday, November 28 at 7 p.m. in the HUB’s UBC room. Habila also will meet with students from Joyce Hinnefeld’s Writing as Activism course earlier in the day.
Habila began his writing career in Lagos, Nigeria, as a journalist and editor for Hints magazine and the Vanguard newspaper. In 2001, his short story “Love Poems” from the collection Prison Stories won the Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2002, Prison Stories was adapted into his first novel, Waiting for an Angel, which won the 2003 Commonwealth Prize for best first novel.His second novel, Measuring Time, published in 2007, won the Virginia Library Foundation’s 2008 fiction award. He was the first African Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia in England and the first Chinua Achebe Fellow at Bard College in New York. He currently teaches creative writing at George Mason University in Virginia.
Habila will read from Oil on Water, published in 2010. The novel addresses the issue of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, making it particularly relevant for the Writing as Activism students and for the college’s focus on sustainability this year. His talk will center around the themes of the book: corruption in the government and in the oil companies and the devastation of Nigerian lives and of the Nigerian environment that the oil industry creates. The book was a runner-up for the 2012 PEN Open Book Award and was shortlisted for 2011 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and the 2012 Orion Book Award.
The event is free and is open to the college and the wider community. More information about Habila can be found at his website.
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