All in Literature

HELON HABILA

Writing on the topics you select seem like a huge responsibility. How do you deal with the pressure?

I write what I want to write about, so that reduces the pressure. Writing about The Chibok Girls or the Niger Delta is equally as hard as writing about a family in a suburb, or a love story. The responsibility is to write a good book, to tell a good story. 

Have you come to terms through your writing with regards to the political dysfunction and military dictatorships you lived through as a young boy?

I guess so. For a writer the past is an experience to be used over and over again to make sense of the present and the future. History tends to repeat itself, not always in the same formulation, but similar in its effect and its intention. 

Will that journey of reconciliation ever finish?

There is nothing to reconcile. I wasn’t a particular victim of the dictatorship. There are some who lost family, or who were incarcerated. I was just a general victim, like everyone else. The past is what it is, we cannot change it.