Former President Barack Obama is headed to Africa this week, and he used his upcoming trip as the inspiration behind his summer reading list recommendations.
“This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
According to Obama, he will be heading first to South Africa, where he is expected to give a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and to convene the inaugural meeting of the Obama Foundation young African fellows. Then he will head to Kenya to visit his ancestral home.
He shared six books on his reading list, five of which are written by African authors: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Return by Hisham Matar and The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes.
“Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition,” he wrote. “As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.”
Check out the former president’s recommendations and descriptions below: