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Helon Habila.

Helon Habila’s fifth book and fourth novel will arrive in June 2019, from Penguin Random House imprint Hamish Hamilton. Titled Travellers, the 320-page book follows the novels Waiting for an Angel (2002), Measuring Time (2007) and Oil on Water (2011), and the nonfiction book The Chibok Girls (2016). His first book to be set outside Nigeria, Travellers roams the continent of Europe, making stops in Germany, Italy, and the UK, its characters from several African countries: Nigeria, Libya, Somalia, and Malawi. With this premise, the novel appears to be aiming for a kind of completeness.

A professor of creative writing at George Mason University, Habila is a recipient of the Caine Prize, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and the Windham-Campbell Prize.

Here is a description of Travellers from Penguin.

Poignant and beautifully sculpted, a novel about exile, identity and the many kinds of travellers moving through our modern world.

Modern Europe is a melting pot of migrating souls: among them a Nigerian American couple on a prestigious arts fellowship, a transgender film student seeking the freedom of authenticity, a Libyan doctor who lost his wife and child in the waters of the Mediterranean, and a Somali shopkeeper trying to save his young daughter from forced marriage. And, though the divide between the self-chosen exiles and those who are forced to leave home may feel solid, in reality such boundaries are endlessly shifting and frighteningly soluble.

Moving from a Berlin nightclub to a Sicilian refugee camp to the London apartment of a Malawian poet, Helon Habila evokes a rich mosaic of migrant experiences. And through his characters’ interconnecting fates, he traces the extraordinary pilgrimages we all might make in pursuit of home.

The Sudanese novelist Leila Aboulela has written highly of the novel. “Once I started reading Travellers, I couldn’t stop. With power and control, it plunges the reader into a maze of lives that crisscross between Africa and Europe,” she says in the blurb. “Refugees and not only refugees hungering for the north, pushing their way through the barriers of waves, human failings and unrealistic dreams. The novel has all the weight of art with the sting of breaking news. I loved it. It is Habila at his best.”

Congratulations to Helon Habila.

Get Travellers on Amazon.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Afternoon Bites: Casey Cep Interviewed, Helon Habila, David Berman’s Latest, Jessica Francis Kane, and More – Vol. 1 Brooklyn - May 17, 2019

    […] At Brittle Paper, thoughts on Helon Habila’s novel Travellers. […]

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