Commonwealth and Caine Prize winning writer, Helon Habila has been in Nigeria for his vacation from his US base and took time out to talk to Sunday Trust on why he is venturing into publishing and the process of publishing his third novel, Oil on Water in Nigeria.
Let’s talk about the Fidelity Bank Creative Writing workshop. You have been facilitating it for three years. How would you describe your experience so far?
I think it’s been good, it’s been worth it. I have no complains. I know sometimes a few things may go wrong here and there but all in all, when you look at the contribution we are making and how excited the students usually are and the experience they gain from it, you find that it’s worth it and you feel happy at the end of the day. You make good friends, especially with the students because we keep in touch and you do meet a lot of talented students and you realise how much talent there is in this country. It’s a big privilege to be part of these things because there are many writers who could do this and one is given the opportunity to do it. I am always happy to work with young Nigerian writers because I know there’s a lot that they don’t have compared to others in America or Britain where you have all this sort of workshops going on at the private level. I think in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is the only one doing that, and of course there is the one by Chimamanda Adichie who was initially part of Fidelity. These are the only workshops we have in this country and when you look at the number of people we have in this country and the talents, ambition and desire we have, so I think Fidelity Bank is doing a good job at that.
Over the past three years that you have been facilitating this workshop, what future do you see for Nigerian writers?
I think the future is bright. I’ve been talking to people here and there, I have learned that a number of younger writers have been going outside the country to study creative writing at the graduate level and that’s a good thing because it immediately raises your game to a different level just by participating, by being exposed to writers, to publishers, to other things.
Read complete article Why I want to venture into publishing – Helon Habila.