Brittle Paper, an African online literary publication that curates and publishes stories and news about African literature, has released this year’s list of notable African Books of the Year. Since its launch in 2018, the publication releases each year’s list of notable books written by African authors to highlight how impactful and deeply woven the themes explored in the books. The objective is to show the world how richly and expansively African literary culture is growing, and to introduce readers to new books, particularly books from under-represented parts of the continent.
In this year’s list of 23 countries, 30% of the writers are debut authors and for the first time, it includes Djibouti and Burkina Faso. The array of genres featured include speculative fiction, YA, poetry, queer writing, memoirs, travel narrative, political thriller, crime, comics, romance fiction, satire and the absurd, historical fiction, children’s books, and more.
See some of the featured books.
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
The brilliantly prolific Akwaeke Emezi stuns in this mesmerizing romance celebrating queer love in the context of black diaspora experience.
Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel by Ibi Zoboi
In this BLACK PANTHER spinoff novel, Okoye of the Dora Milaje has a coming-to-America experience. Her first mission takes her on a journey all the way from Wakanda to Brooklyn in the company of King T’Chaka.
A Quiet Teacher by Adam Oyebanji
Greg Abimbola, a British-Nigerian man, imagines he has left his past as a spy behind and settles into a quiet life as a teacher in an American high school. And then someone turns up dead in the school. A deliciously fast-paced crime thriller!
Black and Female by Tsitsi Dangaremgba
Dangarembga is a literary powerhouse. Her first nonfiction book takes readers through the life experiences and lessons that made her the writer and filmmaker she is today.
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire
Shire’s first collection since she collaborated with Beyoncé on Lemonade and Black Is King is a powerful reflection on the experience of womanhood in the context of displacement.
Africa Is Not A Country by Dipo Faloyin
Dipo Faloyin’s book contributes to the rich tradition of books dispelling harmful stereotypes about Africa. Using humor and deep insights, Faloyin destroys assumption after assumption about Africa as a world of famine and safaris.
Vegan Africa by Marie Kacouchia
VEGAN AFRICA takes readers on a vegan culinary journey all over the African continent. The book includes over 70 vegan recipes from over 15 countries!
Against Decolonization by Olúfemi Táíwò
A provocative and epic call-out, Cornell University professor Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò’s recent book warns against what he calls the “decolonization industry.”
A Trail of Crab Tracks by Patrice Nganang
The final book in Nganang’s Cameroonian trilogy tells the epic story of war and independence through the intimacies and tensions between a father and his son.
An African Abroad by Olabisi Ajala
Masobe Books and Olongo Africa join forces to revive this Nigerian travel memoir classic. It chronicles the adventures of Àjàlá during his trip around the world—on his vespa!
A Quick Ting on Afrobeats by Christian Adofo
There is growing interest in the history of Nigeria’s global pop music genre Afrobeats. Christian Adofo traces the transnational evolution of Afrobeats in relation to African and black British cultures and identities.
An Unusual Grief by Yewande Omotoso
Omotoso’s third novel is a strange, deeply moving, and surprising meditation on mourning. Following the death of her daughter, a woman pursues an unusual fascination with her daughter’s life.
Blood to Poison by Mary Watson
Savannah is destined to die due to an old curse, but she fights for survival at all cost. BLOOD POISON is a feminist story about girls who use their anger to confront the world.
Vagabonds by Eloghosa Osunde
VAGABOND! captures the essence of Lagos through queer and trans experiences, filtered through magical realist elements. The story is haunting and irresistible.
Between Starshine and Clay: Conversations from the African Diaspora by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
The collection features interviews with Michelle Obama, Toni Morrison, Wole Soyinka, and many other celebrated writers exploring issues ranging from history to race to politics.