Nigerian Author Helon Habila is Curating the 2024 International Literature Festival Berlin

Nigerian Author Helon Habila is Curating the 2024 International Literature Festival Berlin

The literary world is abuzz with excitement as the Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin (ILB) announces its first-ever Curator in Residence for the 24th edition of the festival. Helon Habila, the acclaimed Nigerian writer, will steer the ship, infusing fresh perspectives and global voices into this prestigious event.

Born in Nigeria and currently straddling the USA and Nigeria, Helon Habila has made an indelible mark on contemporary literature. His four novels and numerous short stories have garnered critical acclaim, including the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing.

Habila’s literary environmental thriller, “Oil on Water” (2010), resonated worldwide, while his latest novel, “Travelers” (2019), delves into the complexities of African migration to Europe and the quest for belonging.

Berlin holds a special place in Habila’s heart. He has graced the ILB stage as a guest in 2008, 2013, and 2015, and was also a fellow of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program in 2013.

The ILB has always been an international melting pot of literary voices. By appointing Habila as the inaugural Curator in Residence, the festival takes a bold step toward inclusivity and global collaboration.

Habila shares his thoughts on this groundbreaking appointment: I think the ilb’s decision to appoint a Curator in Residence shows its genuine desire to collaborate with writers regarding the vision and the direction the festival should take. The ilb has always been international, but appointing me, a Nigerian writer, as the first curator in residence shows that the festival is taking a bold step to further burnish its international credentials and to welcome all writers to Berlin on an equal basis. My duty as a curator is to make this vision possible.

The ILB’s supporting association, the Peter-Weiss-Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur e.V., aims to redefine the festival’s identity through international guest curation. Habila’s extensive network, dedication to justice, and commitment to nurturing diverse literary voices position him as the ideal curator.

Author and selection committee member Priya Basil explains the choice: “His accomplishments, curiosity, and ability to connect worlds make him uniquely suited to expand imaginations.”

Festival Director Lavinia Frey adds: “Habila’s connoisseurship of international literature will transform our program and collaborative approach.”

The ILB 2024, set to run from September 5 to 18, promises a literary feast curated by Habila. Expect thought-provoking discussions, cross-cultural dialogues, and a celebration of storytelling.

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