Ask an African of my generation – people born in the 50s,60s, and 70s – and chances are that for many of us, our views on Africa’s best writers of all time will narrow to a few renown authors such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Nadine Gordimer and others of their time.
I remember growing up, and feasting on the works of these and many other authors – the majority of which were published at the time by Heinmann, under the African Writers Series.
My favorite writer then and now was Chinua Achebe. I still have a copy of his “No Longer at Ease” given to me as an academic prize in high school. Achebe was a master of simplicity, managing through his characters to cut to the heart of issues that dogged Africa at the time. For anyone interested in understanding colonial and post-colonial Africa, and uncovering the roots of modern African politics, with its mix of corruption and tribalism, I’d recommend Achebe’s , ‘Things Fall Apart’ and ‘No Longer at Ease.’
Needless to say, many of the best books on Africa have been written by people who came from other parts of the world. A good recent example is Michaela Wrong’s “It’s Our Turn to Eat’ – a book that exposed the corruption in Kenya’s politics.
Today, a new crop of writers is emerging, a number of whom have gone on to scoop awards and international recognition, for instance, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Purple Hibiscus) – 2005 Commonwealth Prize winner, and New York Times bestselling author, Dambisa Moyo (Dead Aid).
JOIN THE CONVERSATION – At AfricaBookClub, we want to celebrate the best writers on Africa. Tell us which African writer, established or new, has impressed you the most. What is the best ever book you’ve read about Africa, and why