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Reading List: Books Released by African Authors in 2013

A. Igoni Barrett, ‘Love is Power, or Something Like That’

  • A powerful short story collection from the author of ‘From Caves of Rotting Teeth’, Nigerian writer Igoni is also something of a literary activist, pioneering a 6-week reading tour by prominent African writers across 4 cities; and founder of the Book Jam reading series. Read more of his work on Guernica and AGNI.

NoViolet Bulawayo, ‘We Need New Names’ 

  • Zimbabwean writer Bulawayo won the Caine Prize in 2011 for her story ‘Hitting Budapest’. She recently spoke at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York where she said “I write from my blood’. This is her debut novel.

Mukoma wa Ngugi, ‘Black Star Nairobi’

  • The name gives it away: the Kenyan author - who splits his time between Kenya and the US - is the son of African lit giant Ngugi wa Thiong’o. He’s also a professor at Cornell University, and his first novel, ‘Nairobi Heat’, is being made into a film

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘Americanah’

  • Known worldwide for her speeches as well as her books, ‘Americanah’ is the Nigerian author’s third novel. The film adaptation of her bestseller’Half of a Yellow Sun’ (2006) starring Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor is due to be released later this year. Adichie is the founder of the Farafina Writers Workshop which is currently accepting applications.

Taiye Selasi, ‘Ghana Must Go’

  • With endorsements by the likes of Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison, Selasi is quickly establishing herself as a voice to look out for. Her linguistically experimental novel follows a family dealing with love, life-building and the pains of migration. She’s also known for penning the so-called Afropolitan manifesto ‘Bye-Bye Barbar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)

'There is a Country: Fiction from South Sudan'

  • This anthology of eight stories from the world’s newest nation South Sudan is published by McSweeney’s and treats themes of war, migration and displacement as well as love, described as ‘a fresh and necessary account of an emerging nation, past and present’. 

Alain Mabanckou, ‘Tomorrow I Will be Twenty Years Old’

  • This is Congolese novelist, poet and journalist Mabanckou’s newest novel, based loosely on his childhood in Congo. It follows 10 year old Michel, his dreams and dramas with his 12yr old girlfriend Caroline all set against the ‘big’ geopolitical issues of the day. He’s the author of ‘African Psycho’ and 9 other novels.

Aminatta Forna, ‘The Hired Man’

  • Forna is an author and documentary-maker of Sierra-Leonean and Scottish/British heritage. She’s the author of ‘The Memory of Love’ (2010) and her memoir ‘The Devil that Danced on the Water’ (2003) explored the conspiracy surrounding her father’s death by the Sierra Leonean government. Her new novel ‘The Hired Man’ is set in Croatia and looks at the ‘ethnic cleansing’ which followed the dismantling of the former Yugoslavia. It’s been praised by critics.

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