Helon Habila

Critic

Nigeria

Helon Habila is a poet and prose fiction writer. He is also the author of Oil on Water published by Penguin. He is a DAAD Fellow in Berlin, Germany.

Wake Me When I’m Gone

Date: 05 Sep 2017 Category: Books
8.0 Rating
Odafe Atogun’s second novel is set in a Nigerian village that could almost be described as magical. It is ruled by a despotic king and his council of priests; their worldview is, not surprisingly, patriarchal and ultra-conservative. Any form of dissent or innovation is punished with banishment, or death. Widows must marry within a prescribed period after losing their husbands; if they don’t, their children are taken away to live with their ...

The Fishermen

Date: 14 Apr 2015 Category: Books
9.0 Rating
Four middle-class Nigerian brothers, Ikenna, Boja, Obembe and Benjamin, decide to go fishing in a river. They do this without their mother’s knowledge, carefully hiding away their fishing kit when they come home. Their career lasts six weeks before they are discovered by a neighbour, who tells their mother. One day at the river they meet the local oddball, Abulu, who has the power of prophecy, and who predicts that Ikenna, the eldest, will ...

Welcome to Lagos

Date: 05 Jan 2017 Category: Books
7.0 Rating
The Lagos novel has become a genre in itself, with an outstanding list of practitioners: Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Wole Soyinka, Sefi Atta, Ben Okri, Teju Cole ... It is almost a rite of passage for Nigerian authors, for Lagos is Nigeria in microcosm, and there is no understanding the country without understanding the city. With her new book, Chibundu Onuzo (right) appears to be seeking to redefine the genre. Her debut novel, The Spider Kin ...

Blackass

Date: 09 Jul 2016 Category: Books
6.0 Rating
In A. Igoni Barrett’s debut novel, the main character, 33-year-old Lagosian Furo Wariboko, wakes up one ordinary morning and ... is white. Later in the novel, we meet a writer named Igoni who changes into a woman. But these transformations are not straightforward ones. Despite his white skin, green eyes and red hair, Furo’s eponymous ass remains “robustly black”; despite her big boobs and womanly curves, Igoni, now known as Morpheus, ...