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100 Must-Read Nigerian Novels (1938 - 2013)

Submitted by admin on 31 July 2014

With a Nobel Laureate and five Caine Prize winners, Nigeria can safely boast of a rich literary culture. With that heritage in mind, we present our list of 100 must-read Nigerian novels published between 1938 and 2013. From Zaynab Alkali to Amos Tutuola, we included works by writers both male and female and from all across the nation. The novels range from stories of love to child-rearing to war - and sometimes all three. The list is by no means exhaustive - if we haven't included your favourite, do add it in the comments section. Keep reading for the complete list: 

Efuru by Flora Nwapa (1966)
I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (2009)
Bitterleaf by Chioma Okereke (2010)
Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor (2007)
The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo (2012) - read our review of the novel here
The Fourth World by Ifeoma Okoye (2013)
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin (2010) - read our review of the novel here
On Black Sisters’  Street by Chika Unigwe (2011)
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie (2006)
Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta (2005)
Blackbird by Jude Dibia (2011)
The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (1979)
In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo (2008)
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958)
The Palmwine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola (1952)
Violence by Festus Iyayi (1979)
Estrangement by Elechi Amadi (1986)
A Squatter’s Tale by Ike Oguine (2000)
The Famished Road by Ben Okri (1991)
Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe (1964)
Igbo Olodumare by DO Fagunwa (translated as In The Forest of Olodumare by Wole Soyinka) (1949)
Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi (1961) - read our review here
The Bride Price by Buchi Emecheta (1976)
The Concubine by Elechi Amadi (1966)
Diaries of a Dead African by Chuma Nwokolo (2003)
My Mercedes is Bigger Than Yours by Nkem Nwankwo (1976)
The Bottled Leopard by Chukwuemeka Ike (1985)
Graceland by Chris Abani (2004)
Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala (2006)
A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe (1966)
Waiting for an Angel by Helon Habila (2005)
Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary (2005)
Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele (2008)
One Man, One Wife by TM Aluko (1959)
People of the City by Cyprian Ekwensi (1963)
The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho (1976)
The Interpreters by Wole Soyinka (1965)
The Voice by Gabriel Okara (1964)
Sunset at Dawn by Chukwuemeka Ike (1993)
No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (1960)
Idu by Flora Nwapa (1969)
The Stillborn by Zaynab Alkali (1986)
Trail of Sacrifice by Abubakar Gimba (1985)
An African Night’s Entertainment by Cyprian Ekwensi (1948)
Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen (2012) - read our review here
Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (2011) - read our review here
One Man, One Matchet by TM Aluko (1964) - read our review here
Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmale by DO Fagunwa (translated as The Forest of A Thousand Daemons by Wole Soyinka) (1938)
Second-Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta (1974)
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (2010)
Open City by Teju Cole (2011)
Heroes by Festus Iyayi (1986)
Imagine This by Sade Adeniran (2007)
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie (2003)
The Second Chance by Nyengi Koin (1986)
Behind the Clouds by Ifeoma Okoye (1982)
The Passport of Mallam Ilia by Cyprian Ekwensi (1960)
Nine Lives by El-Nukoya (2007)
The Return of Ikenga by Chukwuemeka Ohuka (1980)
The Only Son by John Munonye (1966)
Walking with Shadows by Jude Dibia (2010)
Arrows of Rain by Okey Ndibe (2000)
Amina by Mohammed Umar (2006)
City of Memories by Richard Ali (2012)
Oil on Water by Helon Habila (2010)
Goodbye Lucille by Segun Afolabi (2007)
The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi (2005)
Becoming Abigail by Chris Abani (2006)
The Street by Biyi Bandele (1999)
Not With Silver by Simi Bedford (2007)
I Saw the Sky Catch Fire by TO Echewa (1992)
Against the Odds by Ben Igwe (2008)
The Triumph Of The Water Lily by Stella Ify Osammor (1996)
The New Man by Femi Ademiluyi (1994)
The Virtuous Woman by Zaynab Alkali (1987)
Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe (1987)
I Am Directed by Augustus Adebayo (1991)
Just Before Dawn by Kole Omotoso (1988)
Iska by Cyprian Ekwensi (1996)
The Potter’s Wheel by Chukwuemeka Ike (1993)
Biafra Testament by Kalu Okpi (1982)
War Games by Dulue Mbachu (2005)
Roses and Bullets by Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (2011)
The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor (2007)
Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko (2012)
Last of the Strong Ones by Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (1996)
Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Ngozi Achebe (2010)
Unbridled by Jude Dibia (2007)
Lemona’s Tale by Ken Saro-Wiwa (1996)
Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi (2009)
Sacrifice by Kole Omotoso (1974)
Tides by Isidore Okpewho (1993)
Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa (1985)
Kolera Kolej by Femi Osofisan (2001)
The Abyssinian Boy by Onyeka Nwelue (2009)
Innocent Victims by Abubakar Gimba (1988)
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola (1954)
The Activist by Tanure Ojaide (2006)
Sterile Sky by EE Sule (2012)
The New Tribe by Buchi Emecheta (2000)

Want more Nigerian writing? Check out our 10 Nigerian books to look out for in 2014 and browse our collection of Nigerian writing available to borrow at our Community Library.