Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Don’t Miss Award-winning Nigerian Author Helon Habila with Nthikeng Mohlele in Joburg

Waiting for an AngelMeasuring TimeOil on WaterRusty BellSmall ThingsThe Scent of Bliss

The Sylt Foundation and the Goethe-Institut kindly invite you to a Literary Crossroads event with Nigerian author Helon Habila and Nthikeng Mohlele.

The event is entitled “From Faction to Fiction? How does reality inform the art of writing?” Two writers in different stages of their careers will share their texts and let us take part in their routines of writing.

The event, curated by Pumla Dineo Gqola and Indra Wussow, will take place at the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg on Thursday, 7 May.

Literature does not come out of the void and writers are very much part of the world they live and write in. It will be interesting to investigate what role reality plays in the conception of the work, how it is aliented and transcended to something new, that opens new worlds and perceptions, opens new realities beyond the obvious.

What is the starting point of a book or a sory? Where does the inspiration come from? What role does research play and how does a writer succeed to transcend into something new? How important are the conditions of production? The social and political parameters of the place of living? Does a perception changes by changing places and worlds?

About the authors

Helon Habila is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University, USA. He worked in Lagos as a journalist before moving to England in 2002, and in 2005-2006 was the first Chinua Achebe Fellow at Bard College, New York.

His novels, poems and short stories have won many awards. They include Waiting for an Angel (Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel: Africa Section, 2003) and Measuring Time (Virginia Library Foundation’s fiction award in 2008). Oil on Water was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (2011) and the Orion Book Award (2012), and a runner up for the PEN/Open Book Award (2012).

Helon has been a contributing editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review since 2004, and is a regular reviewer for The Guardian. He co-edited the British Council’s anthology, New Writing 14 (2006), edited The Granta Book of African Short Story (2011) and was a DAAD fellow in Berlin (2013-2014). In 2015 he won the prestigious Windham Campbell Award.

Nthikeng Mohlele was born in 1977 and grew up in Limpopo and Tembisa township, South Africa. He attended the University of the Witwatersrand, where he studied BA Dramatic Art and African Literature. He enjoys things that appeal to the senses, and holds some permanent opinions.

He published three novels: The Scent of Bliss (2008), Small Things (2013) and Rusty Bell (2014).

About the Sylt Foundation Residency

The privately-funded Sylt Foundation supports artists, writers and composers with residencies on the island of Sylt in Germany and in Johannesburg, South Africa with the purpose of providing a conducive creative space to reflect on their work as well as to access the foundation’s international network of artists, cultural facilitators and audiences.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 7 May 2015
  • Time: 7 PM
  • Venue: Goethe-Institut
    119 Jan Smuts Avenue
    Johannesburg | Map
  • RSVP: Estelle Cooper,

Book Details


Please register or log in to comment