Waiting for an Angel is told episodically through linked stories, focusing on well-drawn and believable characters and their daily lives. He writes with great compassion and empathy, bringing to the fore not only the place and its atmosphere but also emphasizing the individuals’ capacity for hope and courage, friendship and love, beauty and poetry, despite the disturbing circumstances that they have to confront. The book was first published in 2000 in Nigeria as a story collection with one of the stories, “Love Poems”, winning Habila the 2001 Caine Prize for African Writing. The collection was later published in a revised format as Waiting for an Angel in 2002.
Born in Gombe State, Nigeria, Helon Habila has been referred to by some as the new Wole Soyinka of Nigeria. Like Soyinka, Habila is both a poet and prose-writer, who has achieved international recognition in both genres.