Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Nigerian named Curator for the international literature festival in Germany

Starting in 2024, the international literature festival berlin will collaborate with a Curator in Residence. He or she will be responsible for events and invitations and will work together with the festival director and the team to develop a guiding theme for the ilb. Additionally, they will be present in Berlin during the festival.

An internationally composed selection committee has chosen the Nigerian writer Helon Habila as Curator in Residence for the 24th festival edition.

Born in Nigeria and currently residing in the USA and Nigeria, Habila is the author of four novels and numerous short stories, receiving accolades such as the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing. His literary environmental thriller, »Oil on Water« (2010) became an international bestseller. His latest novel, »Travelers« (2019) sensitively narrates African migration to Europe and the search for home.

Helon Habila /Photo: © Windham-Campbell Prize

The author also has a personal connection to Berlin, having been a guest at the ilb in 2008, 2013, and 2015, as well as a fellow of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program in 2013.

In expressing his thoughts on the appointment, Habila states, »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.«

Author and selection committee member Priya Basil explains the choice, saying, »His writing accomplishments, his dedication to justice and to nurturing a plurality of literary voices, as well as his extensive network make him uniquely suited to offer the ilb creative, multi-faceted curation that connects worlds and expands imaginations.«

Festival Director Lavinia Frey adds, »Helon Habila is an outstanding writer and connoisseur of international literature. His curiosity, dedication to literature, which he teaches as a Creative Writing professor, and his knowledge of the literary scenes will change the program and the way we work together.«

© internationales literaturfestival berlin


The berlin international literature festival or ilb is an annual event based in Berlin. Every September, the festival presents contemporary poetry, prose, nonfiction, graphic novels and international children’s and young adult literature. The 24th ilb will hold from 5-18 September 2024.

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