19.02.2014 - Helon Habila

On Wednesday February 19th the Nigerian author Helon Habila will visit BorderKitchen’s literary salon to talk about his book Oil on Water. He will be interviewed – in English – by Toef Jaeger.
Helon Habila (born in 1967) started out as a journalist in Nigeria. He has lived in Lagos, Norwich, New York, Washington DC, Berlin, and currently teaches creative writing at George Mason University in Virginia, USA. Habila has been awarded several prizes for his poetry and novels, and wrote Waiting for an Angel and Measuring Time before publishing Oil on Water.
Rufus, the young Nigerian from Oil on Water is a journalist. Together with his journalistic hero Zaq, Rufus travels to the Niger Delta to search for the kidnapped wife of a rich British petro chemist. It seems to be a ‘simple kidnapping’ where the ransom will be paid as soon as the journalists find proof that the woman is still alive. However, the search quickly turns out to be a complicated and perilous quest in the environment soiled by oil. The journalists face disease, meet the last inhabitants of villages abandoned due to poverty and are taken prisoner by Nigerian soldiers. The result is a gripping story with a distressing message about contaminated oil in Nigeria.
Oil on Water has been translated into Dutch by Aleid van Eekelen-Benders as Olie op water – and is published by Nieuw Amsterdam. Helon Habila will be interviewed by NRC journalist Toef Jaeger.