NPR logo Nigerian writer Helon Habila

Nigerian writer Helon Habila

Two years ago Habila won the coveted Caine prize for African writing for his short story "Love Poems." Habila's new novel — his first — expands on that story. It's called Waiting for an Angel. Nigerians suffered first from a long civil war, then under a series of military dictatorships. Habila's novel takes place in the mid-1990s during the brutal reign of General Sabi Abacha — when labor unions were banned, newspapers and magazines were shut down, journalists and activists were imprisoned, and demonstrators were kidnapped or killed. Habila is currently a fellow at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. He lives in London.