Wednesday, February 20, 2013

African authors reading list

If there's one thing that being in Brazza this part weekend (more on that later) taught me, it's that I do not read enough African authors. I've always had some vague sense of that but as I read mostly YA and while South African YA is quality stuff, it's not like there are dozens of contemporary SA YA books to wade through, I figured I'd eventually get round to it after tackling the complete works of Dessen or Zarr. This weekend, being among African writers and publishers really made me re-think it. It suddenly struck me as odd that I should be so European in my reading habits when I am an African.

Part of it, I guess, is that it's just so much easier to access European, American and even Australian reads. You don't need to have studied English or Literature to be familiar with works of those writers: you just need Goodreads or Facebook or book recommendations from Amazon. I had to actually Google 'African authors' to find some ideas on works to read because I didn't have much of a starting point and I actually have no clue what I might enjoy or benefit from reading (many thanks to Ivor Hartmann for his great list of must-read African books). I think my reading challenge for this year should be getting acquainted with the voices of my continent so I'm putting my reading list onto the interwebs. Books with (R) at the end are books I've already read. Books I read this year I'll review on this blog.


Arrow of God/Anthills of the Savannah – Chinua Achebe
Wizard of the Crow – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Maru – Bessie Head (R)
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah
The Famished Road – Ben Okri
The Interpreters – Wole Soyinka
The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu
The Madams – Zukiswa Wanner
Diaries of a Dead African – Chuma Nwokolo
Zoo City - Lauren Beukes (R)
Nervous Conditions – Tsitsi Dangarembga
The Boy Next Door – Irene Sabatini
The Smell of Apples - Mark Behr
Whiplash - Tracey Farren (R)
The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna
Purple Hibiscus/The Thing around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
African Psycho – Alain Mabanckou
Harmattan Rain – Ayesha Harruna Attah
Tail of the Blue Bird – Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Dancing with Life – Christopher Mlalazi
Nairobi Heat – Mukoma Wa Ngũgĩ
On Black Sisters’ Street – Chika Unigwe
Unbridled/Blackbird – Jude Dibia
In Dependence – Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Bones – Chenjerai Hove
Underground People – Lewis Nkosi
Waiting for the Rain – Charles Mungoshi
A Fine Madness – Mashingaidze Gomo
To Saint Patrick – Eghosa Imasuen
Somewhere in This Country – Memory Chirere
The Old Man and the Medal – Ferdinand Oyono
The Suit - Can Thamba (R)
Down Second Avenue – Ezekiel Mphahlele
This Earth, My Brother – Kofi Awoonor
A Simple Lust – Dennis Brutus
The Setting Sun and the Rolling World – Charles Mungoshi
Walking with Shadows – Jude Dibia
Wife of the Gods – Kwei Quartey
Without a Silver Spoon – Eddie Iroh
Time of the Butcherbird – Alex la Guma
Dog Eat Dog – Niq Mhlongo
Paradise - Abdulrazak Gurnah
From Caves of Rotten Teeth – A. Igoni Barrett
Pregnancy of the Gods – Odili Ujubuonu
The Quarry - Damon Galgut (R)
Everything Good Will Come – Sefi Atta
Burma Boy – Biyi Bandele
Graceland – Chris Abani (R)
Mashetani (The Devil’s) – Ibrahim Hussein
Betrayal in the City – Francis Imbuga
Reclaiming the L-Word. Sappho's Daughters Out in Africa - Alleyn Diesel (Editor) (R)
Echoes of Silence/The Burdens – John Ruganda
Waiting for an Angel – Helon Habila
The House Gun – Nadine Gordimer
The Concubine – Elechi Amadi
Mine Boy – Peter Abrahams
The Lion and the Jewel – Wole Soyinka
Kill Me Quick – Meja Mwangi
Disgrace – J.M Cotzee (R)
Baobabs in Heaven – Tawanda Chabikwa
Nights of the Creaking Bed – Toni Kan
Songs from the Marketplace/Village Voices/The Eye of the Earth – Niyi Osundare
Country of my Skull - Antjie Krog
Circles in a Forrest - Dalene Matthee (R)
Triomf – Marlene Van Niekerk
Measuring Time – Helon Habila
The Only Son – John Munoye
Room 207 – Kgebetli Moele
The Book of Secrets – M. G. Vassanji
In a Strange Room - Damon Galgut (R)
Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah
Little Ice-Cream Boy - Jacques Pauw (R)
Bom Boy - Yewande Omotoso
Thirteen Cents – K. Sello Duiker
David’s Story/Playing in the Light – Zoe Wicomb
Blood Kin - Ceridwen Dovey (R)
One Day I Will Write About This Place – Binyavanga Wainaina
The Identity of Blood Money – Mzondi Lungu
Say You are One of Them – Uwem Akpan
Sleepwalking Land – Mia Couto

I've already ordered:
The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna
The Smell of Apples - Mark Behr
Open City - Teju Cole
Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah

I've been putting off reading for months:
Bom Boy - Yewande Omotoso

That's a crapload of books. I best be getting on with it.

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