An Africa Day Collective

Image via Mocha Club

Today is (was) Africa Day. My favourite way of celebrating Africa is by celebrating her literature – and by implication, her narratives.

I have loads of posts about South African books, but not one about the continent. Here is a handful of my favourite pan-African books. There are many more. I am shamefully missing a bunch of countries on the continent – please do recommend some good books in countries not listed below. Preferably written by an author from the relevant country.

Note: Linked to my reviews where appropriate. 

  1. CongoMama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen by Lisa J. Shannon – if you read my review, you’ll see I didn’t give this a high rating. It is not the best-written book, and has a saviour complex, but I did get a lot of insight into Congo from it.
  2. Ethiopia: Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
  3. GhanaThe Prophet of Zongo Street by Muhammed Naseehu Ali – short stories set in a fictional community, but the author writes from a Ghanaian lens.
  4. MauritiusThe Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
  5. Nigeria: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta – set shortly after the Biafran War, and focussing on the experience of a young lesbian woman, this book is marvellous.
  6. NigeriaChildren of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – fantasy and magic. Adeyemi talks about BLM in her notes at the end, and it is so appropriate. I have all the love for this book.
  7. SomaliaA Man of Good Hope by Jonny Steinberg – well-researched non-fiction
  8. South AfricaCoconut by Kopano Matlwa
  9. South AfricaNot A Fairytale by Shaida Kazie Ali
  10. SudanThe Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman
  11. ZimbabweWe Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
  12. Various: 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen – NOT to suggest that AIDS is synonymous with Africa at all, I value this book in our narrative because it highlights so much positivity and hope throughout the continent. Unfortunately this book is out of print.
  13. VariousQueer Africa 2 by Karen Martin et al – I’m still working my way through this anthology, but it is quite wonderful.

My lists of favourite South African books:

And some thoughts I’ve written before about the continent (some about books, but not all):

I owe you all a proper new-material post, I know. And I owe quite a few people responses to email. I’ll get on that.

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