In 2015, African literature was blessed with so many awesome books. Ranging from contemporary and humorous to thoughtful and dealing with social issues, we have enjoyed reading some of the books published in 2015. In no particular order, these are our top six favorite books in 2015.
- Written by Igoni Barrett, author of Love is power and something like that, Blackass is a humorous one. Imagine you, a black man, light skinned or not, waking up a white man. What would you do? This is what Furo Wariboko faces in this novel. In this book, Igoni Barrett toys with psychological and physiological transformations. To an extent, it is a novel about decolonization. It also deals with social media, the difference between the social media personality and the real life personality. We love Blackass because it is, amongst other things, all shades of cool.
- Taking us to the north in his 258 paged novel is Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday (Widely known as B.O.A.T) It is a compelling yet simply written story about Dantala. Told in Dantala’s naïve, searching voice, this astonishing debut explores the ways in which young men are seduced by religious fundamentalism and violence. It is at times humorous, but still, it tackles the serious issues facing that part of Nigeria. We must warn you; this book is not poverty porn if that is what you think. It examines a reality, an important reality.
- Under the Udala trees by Chinelo Okparanta is a bold novel about love. It describes loss, the Nigerian civil war and love with an easy flowing rhythm. Okparanta’s novel is one that would leave you speechless. We particularly love the main character Ijeoma, her passion and the conflicts she has between love and religion. Ijeoma is forced to marry a man she doesn’t love and have his children, because loving a woman is an abomination according to the Bible, as her mother constantly says. It is poignant, emotionally rich and tackles serious human issues.
- Shortlisted for the Prix du Monde (Le Monde Literary Prize), 2014, Etisalat Prize for Literature and Literary Prize of the City of Graz, Austria, 2014 Tram 83—the debut novel by Fiston Mwana Mujila which was translated from French to English by Roland Glasser captures the complexities of life in an African city in Central Africa. An energetic novel, we particularly enjoyed it for its language, rhythm and atmosphere as the novel takes place mostly in the club, named after the book Tram 83. We also liked how it is fast paced, chaotic and intricate. Tram 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.
- In the Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician, three very different men struggle with thoughts of belonging, loss, identity and love as they attempt to find a place for themselves in Britain. The Magistrate tries to create new memories and roots, fusing a wandering exploration of Edinburgh with music. The Maestro, a depressed, quixotic character, sinks out of the real world into the fantastic world of literature. The Mathematician, full of youth, follows a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle, until their three universes collide. In this carefully crafted, multi-layered novel, Tendai Huchu, with his inimitable humor, reveals much about the Zimbabwe story as he draws the reader deep into the lives of the three main characters.
- For Broken Men who cross often: We read a lot of poetry in 2015 but our best is the one written by Efe Paul which comes with a CD of his spoken word tracks. It is simple and brilliant. The poems are often melancholic and other times heart felt and relatable. There are poems about personal failures and poems about social injustice. Our favorite is Justice has been kidnapped in my country.