We're delighted to announce that Helon Habila has won the Windham Campbell Prize for Fiction 2015!
The Windham Campbell Prizes were established by Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of ﬁnancial concerns. The Prizes debuted in 2013. There is no submission process and winners are determined by a global group of invited nominators, a jury in each category, and a selection committee.
“The Windham Campbell Prizes were created by a writer to support other writers, said Michael Kelleher, director of the program. “Donald Windham recognized that the most signiﬁcant gift he could give to another writer was time to write. In addition to the recognition prestige it confers, the prize gives them just that – with no strings attached.”
Helon Habila is the author of three novels. He was Arts Editor of Nigeria's Vanguard Newspaper when his short story "Love Poems" won the 2001 Caine Prize, gardnering him international attention as one of the most exciting new voices in contemporary fiction. The story was excerpted from his first novel, Waiting for an Angel (2002), itself about a Nigerian journalist's literary ambitions threatened by a repressive military regime. The novel was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Region). That year, he was also invited to serve as the first African Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia, and in 2006 he co-edited the British Council's collection NW14: The Anthology of New Writing. His second novel, Measuring Time (2007) won the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction. In 2011, he published his latest novel Oil and Water and edited The Granta Book of the African Short Story. He is currently Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University and returns to Nigeria each summer to teach a writing workshop.
Helon has said "I had heard of the Windham Campbell prize before, but never in my wildest thoughts did I ever imagine I was on their radar. It is an honour to know that one's work is appreciated at such a level, that one's work matters. As Shakespeare wrote: Our praises are our wages. This is the highest praise indeed, for which I am most grateful."