Undeniably, the Nigerian literature scene is packed with a lot of gems. Here are 9 utterly delicious reads from Nigerian authors that you have to pick up:
1) Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle
Choice Quote: “To start with, going alone to a pickup joint in Lagos wasn’t my idea. Well, that’s not entirely true. Nigeria was where Melissa – my half Nigerian, half Irish ex-girlfriend – was born and I wanted to have stories to tell her when I got back to London. I also wanted to get out of Eko Hotel to see this country I’d heard so much about.”
You will enjoy this book if: You are a lover of fast paced thrillers, slow building interracial romance and a strong female lead. It is a deviation from your usual crime fiction, the plot takes place in the bustling city of Lagos!
2) The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
Choice Quote: “You are crying,” she said. It was only then that Osita noticed the tears slipping into his ears. It was evening and the light was leaving. “It’s raining,” he told her, slurring his words. She laughed. “It’s not raining.” “It’s raining inside me,” he said and a wave of darkness took over.
You will enjoy this book if: You like complex characters, forbidden romance, themes on identity and can manage to remain sane as the answer to a gripping mystery reveals itself slowly. This book is dazzling and honestly worth the myriad of emotions you’ll surely go through.
3) Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Choice quote: “But the biggest lies are often the ones we tell ourselves. I bit my tongue because I did not want to ask questions. I did not ask questions because I did not want to know the answers. It was convenient to believe my husband was trustworthy; sometimes faith is easier than doubt.”
You will like this book if: You are a fan of domestic fiction drenched in unimaginable betrayal. Sometimes household secrets are the juiciest.
4) Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
Choice Quote: “Yes, life could at times be so brutal that the only things that made it livable were dreams.”
You will like this book if: You are interested in literature set in the colonial times, strong female characters and how they navigate the patriarchy. Nothing, nothing at all, can prepare you for how this book ends.
5) What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Choice Quote: “She sounded just like my mother, and I knew that if I didn’t interrupt, the lecture would escalate until I wanted to slit my wrists just to give her something to mop so she would. Stop. Talking.”
You will like this book if: You don’t have time to read a whole novel and you prefer short stories. You will thoroughly enjoy the stories if you are a magic realism, sci-fi and horror fan.
6) The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma
Choice Quote: “I once heard that when fear takes possession of the heart of a person, it diminishes them. This could be said of my brother, for when the fear took possession of his heart, it robbed him of many things – his peace, his well-being, his relationships, his health, and even his faith.”
You will like this book if: The slow descent of happiness to tragedy within the life of a family fascinates you.
7) Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi:
Choice Quote: “They killed my mother. They took our magic.They tried to bury us. Now we rise.”
You will like this book if: You love books like Harry Potter and Mortal Instruments but crave something more African.
8) The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola
Choice Quote: “But when the fire was about to quench, their children came with whips and stones then they began to whip and stone our heads; when they left that, they began to climb on our heads and jump from one to the second; after that they started to spit, make urine and pass excreta on our heads; but when the eagle saw that they wanted to nail our heads, then it drove all of them away from the field with its beak.”
You will like this book if: You don’t want to read conventional fiction and want to laugh out loud every few seconds and scream WTF. This book is heavy on humor and Yoruba folklore, no one can convince me the author wasn’t on psychedelics when he wrote it
9) Becoming Nigerian: A Guide by Elnathan John
Choice Quote: “When you sneak away from your wife to call your girlfriend in the bathroom, and she asks if you will come this weekend, you must say — in addition to “Yes” — “By God’s grace” or “God willing” or “Insha Allah”. It doesn’t matter what language you use. Just say it. The Nigerian God likes to be consulted before you do anything, including a trip to Obudu to see one of your [other] lovers. Sometimes, when you have impressed one of your many lovers with your sexual prowess and they look at you in amazement, just say: ‘Baby, I give God all the glory.’”
You will like this book if: 1. You’re frustrated with the ways of Nigerians but can’t really pinpoint the thing that irks you about us 2. You want to laugh so hard you start crying.