Book Chat: Helon Habila

Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila gives insight to his new book Travellers, a novel about refugees relocating from Africa to Europe.

Helon Habila speaks on his meeting with the Somalian character in his book and how powerful it was hearing that experience from the character himself. The sacrifices and emotional turmoil the process of relocation has on a person as told by this character were quite impactful on his writing.

Ayobami Adebayo asked the author the importance of representation in the case of writing this particular story for which he replied, “… none of them were unhappy with how I represented them.”
Properly representing the characters served as an important benchmark to narrating this story especially for of the sensitive nature of it.

Helon Habila spoke on the commonalities that unite the travel experience. Seeing as people travel for various reasons, the struggles of reinventing oneselves and acclimatising to the new location are popular bonding points for the book Travellers.

The author’s emphasises racial discrimination and unfair treatment as a migrant in these foreign lands regardless of your identity or educational background back home in Africa.

Ayobami Adebayo ends the book chat with a reading of a chapter by the author, Helon Habila—which had such a great plot twist— more character discussions from the book, entertained questions from the audience.

Helon Habila spoke on some of his techniques to writing an interesting story and the uniqueness and importance of identity.