There’s no time like the present to enhance your reading list and these books written by 23 extraordinary African women afre the perfect place to start.
Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire (Somalia/UK)
Best known for the poetry featured prominently in Beyoncé’s 2016 feature-length film Lemonade, this collection is essential. Hers is a brilliant, intuitive and deeply empathetic voice, full of the range of human emotion.
What is Not Your Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (Nigeria/UK)
Long a darling of the UK literary scene, this 32-year-old author had already published five novels and two plays before this short story collection.
Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi (Ghana/Nigeria)
A book of family ties, histories and migration. Tackles the pain of emigration with the sense of loss and grief associated with splintered families. Such assured and stylish, poetic prose.
Welcome To Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo (Nigeria)
A humorous, yet also serious and brilliantly executed, Robin Hood tale set in Nigeria’s economic hub. A very welcome addition to the stories Nigerians tell about themselves and their country.
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya)
An acclaimed, complex book set against the backdrop of the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya.
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (Nigeria/South Africa )
An exploration of friendship and changing race relations over 60 years of South African history told through the experiences of two women who are neighbors. One is Black, the other White.
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (Nigeria/USA)
A Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award winner, she’s written 12 books in the fantasy, sci-fi and speculative fiction genres. Who Fears Death will be adapted by HBO into a TV series exec-produced by George RR Martin, the writer of the Game of Thrones books.
Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (Ethiooia/USA)
Set during the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974, a richly drawn and compassionate story regarded as one of the best books about Ethiopia.
The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo (South Africa )
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue Camroon (USA)
Flame And Song by Philippa Kabali-Kagwa (Uganda/RSA)
Kintu By Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda)
Maru By Bessie Head (Botswana)
Rape By Pumla Dineo Gqola (South Africa)
Homegoing By Yaa Gyasi (Ghana/USA)
Nervous Conditions By Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe)
The Joys of Motherhood By Buchi Emecheta (Nigeria)
Nectar By Upile Chisala (Malawi)
The Purple Violet Of Oshaantu By Neshani Andreas (Namibia)
Our Sister Killjoy By Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana)
Half Of A Yellow Sun By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Stay With Me By Ayòbámi Adébáyò (Nigeria)
Aya of Yop City By Marguerite Abouet (Côte d’Ivoire)