Nigerian writer, Helon Habila nominated for 2012 Orion Book Award

Chi Ibe

Helon Habila, Nigerian writer of the book, ‘Oil on Water’ has been shortlisted as one of the finalists of this year’s Orion Book Award.

On 3 May, in celebration of Earth Day, the winner of the award will be announced.

Habila wrote his first novel as a journalist in Lagos, it was titled ‘Waiting for an Angel’, and it won the Caine Prize in 2001. ‘Waiting for an Angel’ has been translated into many languages including Dutch, Italian, Swedish, and French. His writing has won many prizes including the Commonwealth Writers Prize, 2003. In 2005-2006 he was the first Chinua Achebe Fellow at Bard College in New York. He is a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review, and in 2006 he co-edited the British Council’s anthology, New Writing 14. His second novel, ‘Measuring Time’, was published in February, 2007.

The other finalists for this year’s award are Karen Russell for her work, ‘Swamplandia!’ Carl Safina for ‘The View from Lazy Point’; Sandra Steingraber for ‘Raising Elijah’; and Philip Connors for ‘Fire Season.’

All five finalists will receive a cash prize.

In 2011, ‘Insectopedia’, by Hugh Raffles won the prestigious award while ‘Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing: Living in the Future’, by Charles Bowden won in 2010.

The Orion Book Award is given annually to a book that addresses the human relationship with the natural world in a fresh, thought-provoking, and engaging manner.

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