Books

You’ve been looking for a new book to read, you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for but you know it has to be African Literature. You’ve come to the right place!

Luckily for you, we started a weekly #AFREADs series. Each week we feature a different book that somebody, somewhere is reading. Tapping into to the beauty of Instagram, we capture everything from African Lit classics to new releases. So no more Google searches – we’ve got you covered.

Sit back, have a scroll through, and make room on your bookshelves!

The Granta Book Of The African Short Story edited by Helon Habila (Purchase)

The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola (Purchase)

Published in 1952 by the Nigerian author Amos Tutuola, The Palm-Wine Drinkard is the first African novel published in English outside of Africa. This story is about an unnamed man who is addicted to palm wine, which is made from the fermented sap of the palm tree and used in ceremonies all over West Africa. The son of a rich man, the narrator can afford his own tapster (a man who taps the palm tree for sap and then prepares the wine). When the tapster dies, cutting off his supply, the desperate narrator sets off for Dead's Town to try to bring the tapster back. He travels through a world of magic and supernatural beings, surviving various tests and finally gains a magic egg with never-ending palm wine. Based on Yoruba folktales is written in Pidgin English, the novel has emerged as one of the most important texts in the African literary canon and has been translated into over a dozen languages. | Have you read it? Are you adding it to your reading list? Let us know! | Photo credit: @librerialondon #AmosTutuola #ThePalmWineDrinkard #AFREADs #AfricanLit

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Anthills Of The Savannah by Chinua Achebe (Purchase)

Chris, Ikem and Beatrice are like-minded friends working under the military regime of His Excellency, the Sandhurst-educated President of the fictional West African nation of Kangan. In the pressurized atmosphere of oppression and intimidation they are simply trying to live and love – and remain friends. But in a world where each day brings a new betrayal, hope is hard to cling on to. Anthills of the Savannah (1987), Achebe's candid vision of contemporary African politics, is a powerful fusion of angry voices. It continues the journey that Achebe began with his earlier novels, tracing the history of modern Africa through colonialism and beyond, and is a work ultimately filled with hope. | Have you read it? Are you adding it to your reading list? Let us know! | Photo credit: @stvn_sns | #AnthillsOfTheSavannah #ChinuaAchebe #AFREADs #AfricanLit

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The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini (Purchase)

In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, there is a tragedy in the house next door to Lindiwe Bishop; her neighbor has been burned alive. The victim's stepson, Ian McKenzie, is the prime suspect but is soon released. Lindiwe can't hide her fascination with this young, boisterous and mysterious white man, and they soon forge an unlikely closeness even as the country starts to deteriorate. Years after circumstances split them apart, Ian returns to a much-changed Zimbabwe to see Lindiwe, now a sophisticated, impassioned young woman, and discovers a devastating secret that will alter both of their futures, and draw them closer together even as the world seems bent on keeping them apart. The Boy Next Door is a moving and powerful debut about two people finding themselves and each other in a time of national upheaval. | Have you read it? Are you adding it to your reading list? Let us know! #TheBoyNextDoor #IreneSabatini #AFREADs #AfricanLit

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What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Purchase)

This accomplished debut collection of short stories explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. In "Who Will Greet You at Home", a woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In "Wild", a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In "The Future Looks Good," three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in "Light," a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to "fix the equation of a person" – with rippling, unforeseen repercussions. | Have you read it? Are you adding it to your reading list? Let us know! #WhatItMeansWhenAManFallsFromTheSky #LesleyNnekaArimah #AFREADs #AfricanLit

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What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons (Purchase)

Thandi is a black woman, but often mistaken for Hispanic or Asian. She is American, but doesn’t feel as American as some of her friends. She is South African, but doesn’t belong in South Africa either. Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love. In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss | Photo credit: @goodreads | #WhatWeLose #ZinziClemmons #AFREADs #AfricanLit #AfricanLiterature

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The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah (Purchase)

The Beautyful Ones Are not Yet Born (1968), describes the life of an unnamed rail worker who is pressured by his family and fellow workers to accept bribes and involve himself in corrupt activities in order to provide his family with material goods. The other workers who accept bribes are able to live a prosperous life, while he and his family live from pay check to pay check as a result of his honesty. The unnamed protagonist has failed professionally because he has been too soft and the only heroes in the society—that is, the only ones who succeed—are those who no longer feel moral or emotional hypocrisy. In The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Ayi Kwei Armah attempts to capture the seemingly endless spiral of corruption, moral decadence and spiritual death in post-colonial Ghana. | #TheBeautyfulOnesAreNotYetBorn #AyiKweiArmah #AFREADs #AfricanLit #AfricanLiterature

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The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (Purchase)

The Famished Road by Ben Okri (Purchase)

The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed (Purchase)

It is 1988 and Hargeisa waits. Whispers of revolution travel on the dry winds but Somalia’s dictatorship remains secure. Nine-year-old Deqo has left the vast refugee camp she was born in, lured to the city by the promise of her first pair of shoes. Kawsar, a solitary widow, is trapped in her little house with its garden clawed from the desert, confined to her bed after a savage beating in the local police station. Filsan, a young female soldier, has moved from Mogadishu to suppress the rebellion growing in the north. And as the country is unravelled by a civil war that will shock the world, the fates of the three women are twisted irrevocably together. Intimate, frank, brimming with beauty and fierce love, The Orchard of Lost Souls is an unforgettable account of ordinary lives lived in extraordinary times. | Photo cred: @lannaheartsbooks | #TheOrchardOfLostSouls #NafidaMohamed #AFREADs

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Hibiscus by Lopè Ariyo (Purchase)

Tomorrow I’ll Be Twenty by Alain Mabanckou (Purchase)

Michel is ten years old, living in Pointe Noire, Congo, in the 1970s. His mother sells peanuts at the market, his father works at the Victory Palace Hotel, and Michel struggles with the demands of his twelve year old girlfriend Caroline, who threatens to leave him for a bully in the football team. But most worrying for Michel, the witch doctor has told his mother that he has hidden the key to her womb, and must return it before she can have another child. Somehow he must find it. Tomorrow I'll Be Twenty is a humorous and poignant account of a Congolese childhood, drawn from Alain Mabanckou's life. | We’re running a Short Story Competition with @AfricaWritesUK so if you want to have fun with this week’s #AFREADs and win £100, link in bio! | Photo cred: @inspirit_pages | #AlainMabanckou #TomorrowIllBeTwenty #Competition

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Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire (Purchase)

Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo (Purchase)

Now THIS is how you write a poetry collection. 'Questions for Ada' is full of strength, vulnerability and pride. Every word in these poems is heavy with meaning and purpose. These poems show you that all your emotions are valid and must be felt. Some poetry collections feel lazy and words just seem to be thrown onto the pages. But 'Questions for Ada' is a collection that was carefully crafted with love and full awareness of self. I found myself reflecting after reading a couple of poems at a time. I love when a piece of writing makes you reflect on your life/society and allows you to think about them critically. I will definitely give this collection many more reads in the months and years to come. | words by @awodeee Photo cred: @feministblacksheep | #QuestionsForAda #ijeomaumebinyuo #AFREADs @theijeoma

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So Long A Letter by Mariama Bâ (Purchase)

No Longer At Ease by Chinua Achebe (Purchase)

Obi Okonkwo is an idealistic young man who, thanks to the privileges of an education in Britain, has now returned to Nigeria for a job in the civil service. However in his new role he finds that the way of government seems to be backhanders and corruption. Obi manages to resist the bribes that are offered to him, but when he falls in love with an unsuitable girl – to the disapproval of his parents – he sinks further into emotional and financial turmoil. The lure of easy money becomes harder to refuse, and Obi becomes caught in a trap he cannot escape. Showing a man lost in cultural limbo, and a Nigeria entering a new age of disillusionment, No Longer at Ease concludes Achebe's remarkable trilogy charting three generations of an African community under the impact of colonialism, the first two volumes of which are Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God. | How brilliant is this photo by @kenyanbibliophile? Let us know if you’ve read the book and what you think about it. | #NoLongerAtEase #ChinuaAchebe #AFREADs

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Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (Purchase)

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything – arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, dances with prophets, appeals to God. But when her in-laws insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair. Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 80s Nigeria, Stay With Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayobami Adebayo weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak. | Photo credit: ‪@foylesforbooks | #StayWithMe #AyobamiAdebayo #AFREADs

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Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Purchase)

Of Africa by Wole Soyinka (Purchase)

In this magnificent work, Soyinka offers a wide-ranging inquiry into Africa's culture, religion, history, imagination, and identity. He seeks to understand how the continent's history is entwined with the histories of others, while exploring Africa's truest assets: "its humanity, the quality and valuation of its own existence, and modes of managing its environment—both physical and intangible (which includes the spiritual)." Fully grasping the extent of Africa's most challenging issues, Soyinka nevertheless refuses defeatism. With eloquence he analyzes problems ranging from the meaning of the past to the threat of theocracy. He asks hard questions about racial attitudes, inter-ethnic and religious violence, the viability of nations whose boundaries were laid out by outsiders, African identity on the continent and among displaced Africans, and more. Soyinka's exploration of Africa relocates the continent in the reader's imagination and maps a course toward an African future of peace and affirmation. | Photo credit: ‪@half_book_and_co | #OfAfrica #WoleSoyinka #AFREADs

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Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (Purchase)

Noah was born a crime, son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away. A collection of eighteen personal stories, Born a Crime tells the story of a mischievous young boy growing into a restless young man as he struggles to find his place in a world where he was never supposed to exist. Born a Crime is equally the story of that young man's fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother – a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life. Whether being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and an unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a personal portrait of an unlikely childhood in a dangerous time, as moving and unforgettable as the very best memoirs and as funny as Noah's own hilarious stand-up. Born a Crime is a MUST READ! Photo credit: @beckyhelme | #BornACrime #TrevorNoah #AFREADs

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African Love Stories: An Anthology – edited by Ama Ata Aidoo (Purchase)

Birth of a Dream Weaver by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (Purchase)

As a young student, internationally renowned author Ngugi wa Thiong’o found his voice as a playwright, journalist and novelist, writing his first, pivotal works just as the countries of East Africa were in the final throes of their independence struggles. Despite the challenges he faces as a young black man in a British colony, Ngugi begins to write as an ambitious Makerere University student, weaving stories from the fibres of memory, history and a shockingly turbulent present. Birth of a Dream Weaver, published in 2016, is a moving and thought-provoking memoir of the birth of one of the most important writers today, and the death of one of the most violent periods in global history. | ‘Exquisite in its honesty and truth and resilience, and a necessary chronicle from one of the greatest writers of our time.’ – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Photo credit: ‪@tylersjostrom | #BirthOfADreamWeaver #NgugiWaThiongo #AFREADs

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Harare North by Brian Chikwava (Purchase)

Harare North is what Zimbabweans call London, a reference to the number of Zimbabwean immigrants who have chosen or been obliged to settle in the city. Johannesburg is Harare South. Brian Chikwava's unnamed asylum-seeking narrator arrives in Harare North with nothing to his name but a survivor's instinct. His is a parasitical existence, first in the house of his cousin and his wife, neither of whom wants him there. When the coldness of his reception finally moves him on, he goes to stay with his only other contact in London, an old school friend who lives with other Zimbabweans in a Brixton squat. Here the reason for the tension that existed between the protagonist and his cousin becomes evident. The young man is a pro-Mugabe thug, a member of the Green Bombers youth brigade, on the run from the police and his own people. In his narrator Chikwava has created an utterly compelling anti-hero, who exploits and manipulates everyone around him while retaining a superb grandiosity and sense of entitlement. This novel is both moving and entertaining, as Caine Prize winner Brian Chikwava tackles the realities of Zimbabwean life in this fearlessly political and very funny story. | Photo credit: ‪@alliyahriaz | #HarareNorth #BrianChikwava #AFREADs

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The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah (Purchase)

Memory, the narrator of The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she has been convicted of murder. As part of her appeal her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for murder, and Memory is, both literally and metaphorically, writing for her life. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers? Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between the past and the present, Memory weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate and the treachery of memory. | Photo credit: ‪@inspirit_pages | #TheBookOfMemory #PetinaGappah #AFREADs

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The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi (Purchase)

Jessamy “Jess” Harrison, age eight, is the child of an English father and a Nigerian mother. Possessed of an extraordinary imagination, she spends hours writing, reading or simply hiding in the dark warmth of the airing cupboard. Jess has a hard time fitting in at school – she just can't shake off the feeling of being alone wherever she goes. It is only when she visits Nigeria for the first time that she makes a friend who understands her: a ragged little girl named Titiola or “TillyTilly”. But soon TillyTilly’s visits become more disturbing, until Jess realizes she doesn’t actually know who her friend is at all. Drawing on Nigerian mythology, Helen Oyeyemi presents a striking variation on the classic literary theme of doubles — both real and spiritual — in this lyrical and bold debut. | Photo credit: ‪@candlelit_pages | #TheIcarusGirl #HelenOyeyemi #AFREADs Delete Comment#AFREADA #Africa #Nigeria #Lagos #AfricanLiterature #AfricanAuthors #ChibunduOnuzo #instabooks #bibliophile #bookaddict #bookworm #bookstagram #literature #goodreads #igreads #lovebooks #books #book #booklove #vscobooks #lovereading #bookaholic #bookart #literature #lovetoread #bookish #livre #booklovers #book #books #bookworm

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Welcome to Lagos by Chibundo Onuzo (Purchase)

When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows that it is time to leave. As he travels towards Lagos, he becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a better life. Their arrival in the city coincides with the eruption of a political scandal. The education minister, Chief Sandayo, has disappeared and is suspected of stealing millions of dollars from government funds. After an unexpected encounter with the Chief, Chike and his companions must make a choice. Ahmed Bakare, editor of the failing Nigerian Journal, is desperate for information. But perhaps the situation is more complex than it appears. As moving as it is mesmerising, Welcome to Lagos is a novel about the power of our dreams for the future and the place of morality in a sometimes hostile world. | Photo credit: ‪@FaberBooks via Twitter | #WelcomeToLagos @Chibundu.Onuzo #AFREADs

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One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina (Purchase)

I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (Purchase)

Being the opara of the family, Kingsley Ibe is entitled to certain privileges–a piece of meat in his egusi soup, a party to celebrate his graduation from university. As first son, he has responsibilities, too. But times are bad in Nigeria, and life is hard. Unable to find work, Kingsley cannot take on the duty of training his younger siblings, nor can he provide his parents with financial peace in their retirement. And then there is Ola. Dear, sweet Ola, the sugar in Kingsley's tea. It does not seem to matter that he loves her deeply; he cannot afford her bride price. For much of his young life, Kingsley believed that education was everything, that through wisdom, all things were possible. But when a tragedy befalls his family, Kingsley learns the hardest lesson of all: education may be the language of success in his country, but it is money that does the talking. In desperation he turns to his uncle, Boniface-aka Cash Daddy-an exuberant character who is rumoured to run a successful empire of email scams. With Cash Daddy's intervention, Kingsley and his family can be as safe as a tortoise under its shell. It is up to Kingsley now, to reconcile his passion for knowledge with his hunger for money, to fully assume his role of first son. Photo credit: ‪@HelenandI‪ via Twitter | #IDoNotComeToYouByChance #AdaobiTriciaNwaubani #AFREADs

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Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Purchase)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (Purchase)

Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. But all Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. Once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, soon Sunny is a part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Affectionately dubbed “the Nigerian Harry Potter,” Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one’s place in the world. Photo credit: @calevielundomiel | @nnediokorafor #AkataWitch #AFREADs #nnediokorafor

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An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah (Purchase)

A woman in a township is surrounded by dusty children but longs for a baby of her own; an old man finds that his job making coffins at No Matter Funeral Parlour brings unexpected riches; a politician's widow stands quietly by at her husband's funeral as his colleagues bury an empty casket. Petina Gappah's characters may have ordinary hopes and dreams, but they are living in a world where a loaf of bread costs half a million dollars – a country expected to have only four presidents in a hundred years. In this spirited debut, Gappah evokes the resilience and inventiveness of the people who struggle to live under Robert Mugabe's regime whilst also battling issues common to all people everywhere: failed promises, unfulfilled dreams, and the yearning for something to anchor them to life. Photo credit: @tendai_angela | #PetinaGappah #AnElegyForEasterly #AFREADs

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Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John (Purchase)

Told through the irresistible voice of a young boy, Dantala, Born on a Tuesday is a masterful and haunting coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of extremist politics and religion in Northern Nigeria. Dantala is a naive but bright Quranic student, who falls in with a gang of street boys, surviving on a regime of petty crime and violence. After being paid to set fire to the local headquarters of an opposition party, Dantala is forced to run for his life. Still reeling from the trauma of events, he stumbles into a Salafi mosque where he quickly becomes the favoured apprentice of the Sheikh and finds stability and friendship. From his place of refuge, Dantala confronts the hurdles of adolescence, first love and the splintering of family life. In this raw, authentic and deceptively simple novel, Elnathan John explores boyhood in the wake of extremism and fundamentalism. Born on a Tuesday delves behind the scenes of the media's portrayal of Boko Haram bringing us a powerful and intensely personal picture of life in Northern Nigeria today. Photo credit: @bon_garcon (who has one of our fave Insta accounts) | #ElnathanJohn #BornOnATuesday @CassavaRepublicPress #AFREADS

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Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole (Purchase)

Visiting Lagos after many years away, Teju Cole's unnamed narrator rediscovers his hometown as both a foreigner and a local. A young writer uncertain of what he wants to say, the man moves through tableaus of life in one of the most dynamic cities in the world. Along the way, he reconnects with old school friends and his family, who force him to ask himself profound questions of personal and national history. Over long, wandering days, the narrator compares present-day Lagos to the Lagos of his memory, and in doing so reveals changes that have taken place in himself. Every Day is for the Thief is a striking portrait of Nigeria in change. Through a series of cinematic portraits of everyday life in Lagos, Teju Cole provides a fresh approach to the returnee experience. | Photo credit: @dennishastheblues | @TejuCole #EverydayisForTheThief #AFREADS

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Beneath The Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (Purchase)

Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah (Purchase)

At the center of "Radiance of Tomorrow" are Benjamin and Bockarie, two longtime friends who return to their hometown, Imperi, after the civil war in Sierra Leone. The village is in ruins, the ground covered in bones. As more villagers begin to come back, Benjamin and Bockarie try to forge a new community by taking up their former posts as teachers, but they're beset by obstacles: a scarcity of food; a rash of murders, thievery, rape, and retaliation. As Benjamin and Bockarie search for a way to restore order, they're forced to reckon with the uncertainty of their past and future alike. With the gentle lyricism of a dream and the moral clarity of a fable, "Radiance of Tomorrow" is a powerful novel about preserving what means the most to us, even in uncertain times. | Photo credit for this beautiful shot: @printsnpixels | #RadianceOfTomorrow #IshmaelBeah #AFREADs

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Tram83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujilla (Purchase)

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee (Purchase)

Set in post-apartheid South Africa, J. M. Coetzee’s searing novel tells the story of David Lurie, a twice divorced, 52-year-old professor of communications and Romantic Poetry at Cape Technical University. Lurie believes he has created a comfortable, if somewhat passionless, life for himself. He lives within his financial and emotional means. Though his position at the university has been reduced, he teaches his classes dutifully; and while age has diminished his attractiveness, weekly visits to a prostitute satisfy his sexual needs. He considers himself happy. But when Lurie seduces one of his students, he sets in motion a chain of events that will shatter his complacency and leave him utterly disgraced. | Link to review by @Awodeee in bio. | Photo credit: @noelanimarion | #Disgrace #JMCoetzee #AFREADs

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Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett (Purchase)

Furo Wariboko, a young Nigerian, awakes the morning before a job interview to find that he's been transformed into a white man. In this condition he plunges into the bustle of Lagos to make his fortune. With his red hair, green eyes, and pale skin, it seems he's been completely changed. Well, almost. There is the matter of his family, his accent, his name. Oh, and his black ass. Furo must quickly learn to navigate a world made unfamiliar and deal with those who would use him for their own purposes. Taken in by a young woman called Syreeta and pursued by a writer named Igoni, Furo lands his first-ever job, adopts a new name, and soon finds himself evolving in unanticipated ways. A. Igoni Barrett's Blackass is a fierce comic satire that touches on everything from race to social media while at the same time questioning the values society places on us simply by virtue of the way we look. | Photo credit: @juliesbokbabbel | #Blackass #AIgoniBarrett #AFREADs

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Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue (Purchase)

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice. | Photo credit: @lottekind | #BeholdTheDreamers #ImboloMbue #AFREADs

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Purchase)

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation. | Photo credit: @parisspeaking | #Homegoing #YaaGyasi #AFREADs

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The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Purchase)

In this intimate and seamlessly crafted work, Adichie presents twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Nigeria and the United States. In “A Private Experience,” a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she’s been pushing away. In “Tomorrow is Too Far,” a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother’s death. The young mother at the center of “Imitation” finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the literary powers of one of our most essential writers. | Photo credit for this beautiful shot: @katiebethpics | #TheThingAroundYourNeck #ChimamandaNgoziAdichie #AFREADs

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Efuru by Flora Nwapa (Purchase)

We’re throwing it back to 1966 with Efuru – the first internationally published book by an African woman. Flora Nwapa sets her story in a small village in colonial West Africa as she describes the youth, marriage, motherhood, and eventual personal epiphany of a young woman in rural Nigeria. The respected and beautiful protagonist, an independent-minded Igbo woman named Efuru, wishes to be a mother. Her eventual tragedy is that she is not able to marry or raise children successfully. Alone and childless, Efuru realizes she surely must have a higher calling and goes to the lake goddess of her tribe, Uhamiri, to discover the path she must follow. The work, a rich exploration of Nigerian village life and values, offers a realistic picture of gender issues in a patriarchal society as well as the struggles of a nation exploited by colonialism. | Read it? Thoughts? | Photo credit: @abimbola._ | #Efuru #FloraNwapa #AFREADs

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We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Purchase)

Africa39 edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey (Purchase)

From Pasta to Pigfoot by Frances Mensah Williams (Purchase)

Dismissed as a cultural lightweight by the man she is desperate to please, under-achieving PA, Faye Bonsu, is on a mission to find love. A disastrous night out leaves pasta-fanatic Faye's romantic dreams in tatters and underscores her alienation from her African heritage. Leaving her cosy middle-class life in London's leafy Hampstead to find out what she's missing, Faye is whisked into the hectic social whirlpool of Ghana where she meets Sonny, the pretty-boy womaniser; Edwin, her host's America-crazy boyfriend; Baaba, of the enormous hips and sardonic tongue; Stuart, the British expat who loves all things (and women) Ghanaian; and the handsome Rocky Asante, a cynical, career-obsessed banker with no time for women… until now. Transported into a world of food, fun and sun, and faced with choices she had never thought possible, Faye is forced to discover that no matter how far you travel, you can't find love until you find yourself. Photo credit: @jreadsalot | #FromPastaToPigfoot #FrancesMensahWilliams #AFREADs #AfricanLit

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Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Purchase)

This stunning first novel, set in colonial Rhodesia during the 1960s, centers on the coming of age of a teenage girl, Tambu, and her relationship with her British-educated cousin Nyasha. Tambu, who yearns to be free of the constraints of her rural village, especially the circumscribed lives of the women, thinks her dreams have come true when her wealthy uncle offers to sponsor her education. But she soon learns that the education she receives at his mission school comes with a price. At the school she meets the worldly and rebellious Nyasha, who is chafing under her father's authority. Raised in England, Nyasha is so much a stranger among her own people that she can no longer speak her native language. Tambu can only watch as her cousin, caught between two cultures, pays the full cost of alienation. In Tambu and the women of her family, African women see themselves, whether at home or displaced, doing daily battle with their changing world with a mixture of tenacity, bewilderment and grace. Photo credit: @hannasofiay | #NervousConditions #TsitsiDangarembga #AFREADs #AfricanLit

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Dreams in a Time of War by Ngūgī Wa Thiong’o (Purchase)

Born in 1938 in rural Kenya, Ngūgī wa Thiong’o came of age in the shadow of World War II, amidst the terrible bloodshed in the war between the Mau Mau and the British. Born to a father whose four wives bore him 24 children, Ngugi skillfully etches a bygone era, capturing the landscape, the people, and their culture; and the troubled relationship between an emerging Christianized middle class and the rural poor. Speaking to the human right to dream even in the worst of times, this rich memoir of an African childhood abounds in delicate and powerful subtleties and complexities that are movingly told. | Dreams in a Time of War by Ngūgī wa Thiong’o | Review by @awodeee now up on afreada.com (Link in bio) | Photo credit: @arnestyrofoam | #DreamsInATimeOfWar #AFREADs #AfricanLit

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Lusaka Punk and Other Stories by Caine Prize (Purchase)

A blind girl makes a pilgrimage to Lagos in search of a faith-healing miracle… A boy in a children’s home discovers the truth about his origins… In apartheid Johannesburg, an Indian insurance agent is honoured by his white bosses but his wife feels more than a little uneasy… A schoolboy and his gang investigate the mystery of the alien living in a shed… Dreams and reality merge menacingly in the last days of a former freedom fighter served by an old comrade and rival. | These 17 stories – insightful, arresting and entertaining – reflect the richness and range of current writing on the African continent. | Lusaka Punk and Other Stories – 2015 @CainePrize Anthology | Photo credit: @bon_garcon | #CainePrize #LusakaPunk #AFREADs #AfricanLit

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Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Purchase)

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin (Purchase)

The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu (Purchase)

What’s Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (Purchase)

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Purchase)

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Purchase)

Open City by Teju Cole (Purchase)

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi (Purchase)

The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo (Purchase)

The Stone Virgins by Yvonne Vera (Purchase)

No Time Like The Present by Nadine Gordimer (Purchase)

There’s no time like the present. #MondayMotivation | Photo cred: @bon_garcon | #AFREADs

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The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma (Purchase)

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Purchase)

Helon Habila by Measuring Time (Purchase)

Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta (Purchase)

Chinua Achebe Penguin Classics (Purchase)

Graceland by Chris Abani (Purchase)

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