African Authors and
African Stories

In a continent as ethnically and culturally diverse as Africa, it comes as no surprise that the literature that has emerged from it be equally diverse and multifaceted. Dealing with a range of social and cultural issues, from women’s rights and feminism to post-war and post-colonial identity, here are some of best reads by African Authors.

 

Coming to Birth by Marjorie Oludhe MacGoye

This deceptively simple novel is about a young woman, coming of age at a time of rapid social change in Kenya. The wind of change is blowing through the land as Kenya gains independence and Paulina, only 16, arrives in the city to join her new husband, Martin

 

A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o 

The dominant narrative of this very absorbing read is that of Mugo, a hermit that locals mistake for a freedom hero in this book about the heroic deeds of the ordinary folk in defence of their land against the British. The book echoes of Kenya’s freedom struggle and the multiple stories of its complex characters.

 

Sosu’s Call by Meshack Asare

Winner of the 1999 UNESCO prize and IBBY's Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities award. Sosu, a disabled boy is all alone in his family's compound when disaster strikes. The waters are rising, and most of the people of the village are in the fields. Somehow he manages to raise the alarm an save his village in this story of heroism, resolve and acceptance of the capabilities of determination.

 

The Dance of the Jackaranda by Peter Kimani.

The story is a story of the contrsuction of the railroad  relayed through the eyes of three characters- preacher Richard Turnbull, colonial administrator Ian McDonald, and the Indian technician Babu Salim. The lives of these characters mingle over the circumstances that surround the birth of a child. The book skilfully uses the African language to play with themes of race, cultures an colonialism in Africa.

 

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

The novel begins with the death of a man served by mob justice after being mistakenly identified as a thief. This event is viewed by three market place vendors, one of whom mentions ‘the curse’, we are then transported back to the 18th century to the eponymous Kintu. A man, a powerful governer burdened with woes and wives until he tragedy strikes and his son is killed by his own hand, in a curse that is lasted generations. The book beautifully captures the history of Uganda through beautifully vivid characters and technique.