Share 5 Nigerian Authors You Need to Read

5 Nigerian Authors You Need to Read

Tolani Osan joined Simon & Schuster’s Associate’s Program in 2015 where she spent her first rotation in S&S publicity. She recently earned a Master’s in Publishing & Writing from Emerson College. A daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Tolani enjoys literary fiction about the tensions between cultures and classes. Her favorite book is Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” which she’s made a pact with herself to revisit every three years. She also founded and runs women’s interest blog, MyDresscapades.com, and writes on topics such as fashion, food, perpetual “singledom,” and feminism. You can enjoy her musings about pop culture, fashion, and literature on twitter @dresscapades.  

I beam with pride at the sight of books by Nigerian authors on my bookshelf—displaying names rich with culture that even my tongue has difficulty navigating. As a first generation Nigerian American, I’m unfamiliar with the many peculiarities and treasures my homeland has to offer. Luckily, the deluge of Nigerian literature in recent years has not only given me the chance to learn more about my own culture, but in many ways, it has affirmed my experiences as a child of West African immigrants. As Nigerian Independence Day approaches on October 1st—and we await the grandiose display of “Naija Pride” during the NYC parade—here are five novels we’ll be reading to celebrate.


Half of a Yellow Sun
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Set during the Nigerian Civil War—Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s—HALF A YELLOW SUN is told through five memorable characters, including a pair of sisters whose return from studying in the UK finds them struggling to adjust in a now war-torn homeland. With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history with distinct characters you’ll never forget. It’s a must-read for Nigerian Americans and natives alike.
Half of a Yellow Sun
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Nigerian Civil War of the late 1960s is brought to life through the voices of five unforgettable characters. Among them is Ugwu, a houseboy who comes to his master a naive child and ends the novel a wary ex-soldier. As war drags on and the differences between Ugwu and the once-privileged family he serves shrink, their shared, raw humanity is all that remains.

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The Fishermen
by Chigozie Obioma

After reading Chigozie Obioma’s Cain and Abel–esque novel THE FISHERMEN, I couldn’t talk or think about anything else. The hefty reality of the socioeconomic state of 1990s Nigeria and the mystical and folklorish air of the dangerous prophecy that spins one’s family’s lives out of control makes this read altogether nostalgic, heartrending, and moving.

Read the full review of THE FISHERMEN.

The Fishermen
Chigozie Obioma

When their strict father has to travel for work, four brothers skip school and go fishing. At the ominous nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. THE FISHERMEN is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria.

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Stay with Me
by Ayobami Adebayo
Ayobami Adebayo brings polygamy—a hotly debated topic in many Nigerian circles—to the forefront in her debut novel STAY WITH ME. As Yejide and her husband struggle to conceive years into their marriage, the addition of a new (and more fertile) wife threatens to tear their once peaceful life apart. To save their relationship, Yejide must get pregnant and must go to extreme lengths to do so. STAY WITH ME paints an astonishing portrait of marriage, motherhood, and sacrifice.
Stay with Me
Ayobami Adebayo

MENTIONED IN:

5 Nigerian Authors You Need to Read

By Tolani Osan | September 28, 2017

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Every Day Is for the Thief
by Teju Cole
A young Nigerian living in New York City goes home to Lagos for a short visit, finding a city both familiar and strange. The unnamed narrator reconnects with old friends, a former girlfriend, and extended family, taps into the energies of Lagos life, and slowly begins to reconcile the profound changes that have taken place in his country and the truth about himself. Teju Cole exquisitely captures the experience many Nigerian immigrants experience upon returning home.
Every Day Is for the Thief
Teju Cole

MENTIONED IN:

5 Nigerian Authors You Need to Read

By Tolani Osan | September 28, 2017

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The Icarus Girl
by Helen Oyeyemi
When eight-year-old Jessamy Harrison moves to her mother’s Nigerian compound, she befriends a mysterious girl, Titiola, and it seems that Jess has found someone who will finally understand her. But Titiola, who Jess calls TillyTilly, knows secrets both big and small. Suffused with Nigerian mythology, along with a dose of psychological suspense, THE ICARUS GIRL is a powerful novel readers of magical realism will enjoy.
The Icarus Girl
Helen Oyeyemi

MENTIONED IN:

5 Nigerian Authors You Need to Read

By Tolani Osan | September 28, 2017

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