Helon Habila was born in Nigeria and is the author of three novels, Oil on Water, Measuring Time, and Waiting for an Angel. His fiction, poems and short stories have won many honors and awards, including the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Section), the Virginia Library Foundation's fiction award, and the Windham-Campbell Prize. Habila's short story, The Hotel Malogo won the Emily Balch Prize. Oil on Water, which deals with environmental pollution in the oil rich Niger Delta, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (2011), the Orion Book Award (2012), and the PEN/Open Book Award (2012).
He worked in Lagos as a journalist before moving to England in
2002. He co-edited the British Council's anthology, New Writing
14 and edited The Granta Book of African Short Story in
2011. He is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at
George Mason University and lives in Virginia with his wife and
This is a controlled, lucid and deeply felt account of Boko Haram's unconsionable kidnappings. This is essential to understanding the tragedy of the Chibok girls. -- Dave Eggers, author of What is the What and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
In rescuing the Chibok tragedy from 'mythic status, ' Habila's
unusual primer quietly yet powerfully revives the call to take
notice. - The Atlantic Habila's account is a fascinating
portrait of a community stricken by tragedy and ill-served by
successive governments in Abuja. -- Financial Times In this
brief yet powerful book, novelist Helon Habila returns to Nigeria,
the country of his birth, to explore the kidnapping in April 2014
of 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, in the northeastern
state of Borno...A memorable portrait of individual resilience in a
divided, strife-torn nation. -- the Guardian There's nothing
more informative about one of Africa's most troubled states in the
past half dozen years than Helon Habila's The Chibok Girls.
The slim little book was written by the award-winning Nigerian
novelist who was born in the area and-- although he lives in the
U.S.--returned to the war-torn northeastern area of his country,
where he conducted interviews (including with three of the escaped
abducted girls) and, then, placed his conclusions within the
context of Nigeria's post-Independence history. The result is a
damning picture of Nigeria's failed leadership, ethnic tensions,
and squandered oil wealth, one of the saddest stories of
post-colonialism and--in a disturbing way-- a warning for other
nations (including the United States) to get their act together. --
Counterpunch This engaging book reminds us of how ordinary
the horror of war can be. -- Kwame Dawes, Emmy award-winning poet,
actor, musician and author of Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius
Nigerian-born poet and novelist Habila seeks to remind the global community of the plight of the kidnapped girls....an informative primer on Nigeria's history of Islamist conflict and a passionate testimonial on behalf of the 218 Chibok girls still missing.
--Kirkus Reviews A dispatch from the front lines....Habila incorporates vital background knowledge on the situation in Chibok and the surrounding area; as a poet, he adds sensitivity and eloquence, capturing the raw emotion of the wounded town.
--Publishers Weekly Helon Habila tells us a heartbreaking story about lives lost in anguish. His book will spread the pain and sorrow of the vanquished Chibok women, not to keep us crying, but to energize us to be part of a path that leads to the rescue.
-- Toyin Falola, Past President, African Studies Association, and Kluge Chair of the Countries and Cultures of the South, Library of Congress
Of great interest to readers who have not forgotten #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS. - Library Journal