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10 Anticipated 2019 Books by Nigerian Authors

By Nkem Egenuka on Wed, 30/01/2019 - 18:16

Travelers by Helon Habila

A Nigerian graduate who has made his home in America knows what it means to strike out for new shores. His wife proposes that he accompany her to Berlin, to receive an award, but he has his reservations: “I knew every departure is a death, every return a rebirth. Most changes happen unplanned, and they always leave a scar.”


Human Archipelago by Teju Cole and Fazal Sheik

We are always looking forward and backwards, inside and out. We are and we are not what we see. Doubleness is the first condition of the human. We are not ourselves without also being the Other. Teju Cole

In the past two years, the shift to the political right in the US has been replicated across Europe, the Middle East, Central and East Africa and Southeast Asia, as authoritarian governments and xenophobia have increased. As an act of refusal to these political trends, Sheikh sought out the celebrated novelist and critic Teju Cole for a collaboration that would reinforce their commitment to the ideal of a compassionate global community as well as the importance of individual courage.

The resulting book represents the two authors’ distinct visions, their shared values and mutual spirit of cooperation. With Cole’s words and Sheikh’s photos we are confronted with fundamental and newly necessary questions of co-existence: who is my neighbor? Who is kin to me? Who is a stranger? What does it mean to be human?

Selected Plays by Sefi Atta

This is the First collection of plays written by Sefi Atta.

This is contemporary family drama at its best: jam-packed with complex characters of largely middle class backgrounds; terse, witty dialogues that demonstrate Atta’s skills at portraying genders and generations with widely differing aspirations; sibling rivalries, conjugal dynamics and meddling extended families; best friends and bad neighbors; and a whole plethora of religious practices and ethical mores which affect business ventures, professional conduct, and personal relations. This and much more you will find in Attas Selected Playsa drama collection which offers thought-provoking entertainment for theatre lovers. Christine Matzke, University of Bayreuth

Am Telling the Truth but am Lying by Basey Ikpi

This book is a personal collection of essays exploring Nigerian-American author Bassey Ikpi’s experiences in navigating Bipolar II and anxiety throughout the course of her life.

Bassey Ikpi was born in Nigeria in 1976. Four years later, she and her mother joined her father in Stillwater, Oklahoma —a move that would be anxiety ridden for any child, especially for Bassey. Her early years in America would come to be defined by tension: an assimilation further complicated by bipolar II and anxiety that would go undiagnosed for decades.

By the time she was in her early twenties, Bassey was a spoken word artist and traveling with HBO's Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam, channeling her experiences into art. But something wasn’t right—beneath the façade of the confident performer, Bassey’s mental health was in a precipitous decline, culminating in a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization and a diagnosis of Bipolar II.

Determined to learn from her experiences—and share them with others—Bassey became a mental health advocate and has spent the fourteen years since her diagnosis examining the ways mental health is inextricably intertwined with every facet of ourselves and our lives.


The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri

In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question: Who is the Prisoner?

When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realization. To find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of her question.

Karnak's search leads him into a terrifying world of lies, oppression and fear at the heart of which lies the Prison. Then Karnak discovers that he is not the only one looking for the truth.

The Freedom Artist is an impassioned plea for justice and a penetrating examination of how freedom is threatened in a post-truth society.


On Ajayi Crowther Street by Elnahan John

On Ajayi Crowther Street peels the lives of Reverend Akpoborie and his family, to reveal a tumultuous world full of secrets and lies. His only son, Godstime, is struggling to hide his sexuality from his parents whilst his daughter Keturah must hide the truth of her pregnancy by her pastor boyfriend to preserve her and her family’s image. But it is the Reverend himself who hides the darkest secret of them all, as his wondering eye lands on Kyauta, their young live-in maid.

On the noisy Ajayi Crowther Street in Lagos, neighbours gather to gossip, discuss, complain, and faithfully head to church each Sunday. But beneath the surface lies a hidden world of clandestine love affairs, secrets and hypocrisy that threatens to destroy the community from within.


Voyage of Saints by Marvin Abe

At the ripe old age of 12, Michael Ajose knows what he has to do – find a wife. He sets about doing this with all the vigour of a ‘man’ his age, awakening to a second dream – to become a sailor and someday Captain of his own ship. His search for a companion might have taken a few more years and tears than he imagined; but meeting Lami George at the end of it makes it worthwhile. Michael pursues Lami with a fervency which terrifies and entices her, sweeping her into this all-consuming affair, buffeted on many sides by the winds of fate. A story that begins in the pre-military era of Nigerian history, spanning governments and continents, The Voyage of Saints chronicles a young couple’s quest to find happiness and release from the harrowing circumstances that beset them. As they stand together against all the forces determined to keep them apart, their love is tested by elements unimaginable.


Prince of Monkeys by Nnamdi Ehirim

Growing up in middle-class Lagos, Nigeria during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ihechi forms a band of close friends discovering Lagos together as teenagers with differing opinions of everything from film to football, Fela Kuti to spirituality, sex to politics. They remain close-knit until tragedy unfolds during an anti-government riot.

Exiled from Lagos by his concerned mother, Ihechi moves in with his uncle’s family, where he struggles to find himself outside his former circle of friends. Ihechi eventually finds success by leveraging his connection with a notorious prostitution linchpin and political heavyweight, earning favor among the ruling elite.

But just as Ihechi is about to make his final ascent into the elite political class, he reunites with his childhood friends and experiences a crisis of conscience that forces him to question his world, his motives, and whom he should become. Nnamdi Ehirim's debut novel, Prince of Monkeys, is a lyrical, meditative observation of Nigerian life, religion, and politics at the end of the twentieth century.


An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma

A contemporary twist on the Odyssey, An Orchestra of Minorities is narrated by the chi, or spirit of a young poultry farmer named Chinonso. His life is set off course when he sees a woman who is about to jump off a bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, he hurls two of his prized chickens off the bridge. The woman, Ndali, is stopped in her tracks.

Chinonso and Ndali fall in love but she is from an educated and wealthy family. When her family objects to the union on the grounds that he is not her social equal, he sells most of his possessions to attend college in Cyprus. But when he arrives in Cyprus, he discovers that he has been utterly duped by the young Nigerian who has made the arrangements for him. Penniless, homeless, we watch as he gets further and further away from his dream and from home.


Be(com)ing Nigerian: A Guide by Elnathan John

“The Nigerian God loves elections and politics. When you have bribed people to get the Party nomination, used thugs to steal and stuff ballot boxes, intimidated people into either sitting at home or voting for you, lied about everything from your assets to your age, and you eventually, (through God’s grace), win the election, you must begin by declaring that your success is the will of the almighty and living God and that the other candidate should accept this will of God.”






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