2021 is an amazing year for Nigerian books. With stories bandied around and about writing and reading in Nigeria, this year can be described as a truly tough, exciting and a bag of mixed feelings for Nigerian writers and readers. Nigeria is the home to the best writers in the world.
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In recent times, Nigerians have been celebrated for their craft and arts all over the world. The year 2021 gave us new exciting books. In this article, we have handpicked the Top 10 Nigerian books that made this year a wonderful reading year.
Every Leaf A Hallelujah
Author: Ben Okri
Publishing Date: October 14, 2021.
Publisher: Penguin Random House.
Legendary storyteller and Booker Prize winner, Ben Okri in his book, Every Leaf…
discusses one of the most pressing issues in the world today – climate change. In his usual magical realism flavour, Okri tells the story of his hero, Mangoshi who is on a quest to find a mythical flower to save her mother and village. Ben Okri brings the energy of his magical imagination to a timely novel that knits together astonishment, adventure and environmentalism.
Chronicles From The Land Of The Happiest People On Earth
Author: Wole Soyinka
Publishing Date: September 28, 2021.
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group.
One of the most revered griots of African writing, Professor Wole Soyinka writes again after almost 50 years of hiatus. His book has been described as the most anticipated book when it was announced in 2019. Becoming an instant bestseller says a lot about a book that discusses several weighty issues. The book is set in an imaginary Nigeria, where a cunning entrepreneur is in the business of selling body parts stolen from Dr Menka’s hospital for use in ritualistic practices. The book attacks the insanity of the ruling class and the craziest things in our society.
Author: Caleb Azumah Nelson
Published Date: February 4, 2021.
Publisher: Viking Publishers.
This unusual debut by Azumah narrates the tale of two black British artists – a male photographer and a female dancer –in love and how they struggle to keep it because society threatens to keep them apart. It is a story that reminds us that falling in love is not enough, but how much can our love stand. The story shows how much fear and violence are impediments to true love.
Author: Helen Oyeyemi.
Publisher: Riverhead Books.
Published Date: March 30, 2021.
Described by The Guardian
as a bamboozler, a discombobulation, a peddler of perplexity, Helen Oyeyemi is a Nigerian-British writer who has astonished the world with magical and surrealistic writing. This year Helen Oyeyemi wrote Pieces
which is about two lovers – Otto and Xander – on a honeymoon journey in a train known as The Lucky Day where they met a strange woman who lived on the train. She was carrying a sign that says, “hello”, which might as well mean “help.” The story goes on to weave itself into a mysterious loop as it slowly unravels the puzzling phase of how these lovers will discover the meaning of the sign.
Author: Nnedi Okorafor.
Published Date: January 19, 2021.
Pioneer of African Futurism, an exotic genre of African science that blends magic along with the supernatural and the future, Nnedi Okorafor dazzles us with her book, Remote Control.
Applauded for its audacity, the book tells the tale of a girl known as Sankofa, who is gifted with supernatural and magical powers and an adopted daughter of the angel of death. The novel is set in Ghana and it explores themes of solitude, grief, community, female empowerment and African futurism.
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Author: TJ Benson
Publishing Date: March 5, 2021.
Publisher: Masobe Books.
The Madhouse has received positive reviews since it hit the airwaves in March. Described as a powerful debut with so many flames, TJ Benson’s Madhouse weaves a story that surrounds a family that can be characterized as unusual and in many ways unorthodox. A boy narrates his strange dreams which metamorphosed into a series of stranger things. A woman buys an abandoned house as she fled from a pastor and her family. The novel is set in the military era and its themes are centred on cultural clashes in the face of a fragile political setting.
Author: Chibundu Onuzo.
Publishing Date: June 3, 2021.
Onuzo’s novel centres around the life of Anna, who is on a quest to find her missing father. A woman in her mid-forties, she is caught in the complex web of coping with a rebellious grown-up daughter and tracking down her father who was believed to be a nationalist in the 1970s Britain and a president of a small country in West Africa. The novel has received critical acclaim, it is compelling and engaging as it mirrors various fabrics of life issues.
All Shades Of Iberibe
Publishing Date: November 2, 2021.
Publisher: Sandorf Passage
The debut can be described as fierce and piercing as Kasimma takes us through the plethora of issues prevalent in the Igbo society of southeast Nigeria. The novel is a collection of stories that handle issues from rituals to sexuality; family bonds to contemporaries of our modern world.
Children Of The Quicksands
Author: Efua Traore
Publishing Date: January 9, 2021.
Publisher: Chicken rust Books
This book is about a disobedient girl Simi who goes on a forbidden strange and mysterious journey against all odds. Her quest to discover her family history leaves us with so much suspense as it opens us up to the magical writing of Traore who weaves folktales and blends it with fantasy and the supernatural.
Author: Femi Kayode.
Publisher: Mulholland Books.
Publication date: March 2, 2021.
Filled with twists and turns, Lightseekers
recounts the story of an investigative psychologist, Philip Taiwo, who is on a quest to uncover the truth that surrounded the mob murder of three university students in Port Harcourt. Recruited by the father of one of the ill-fated students who believes his son is innocent, Phillip Taiwo abandons his troubled home in Lagos and goes on a journey to Okriki, a rustic town in Port Harcourt to clear the name of one of the ill-fated students who were innocent. Lightseekers is an extraordinary crime thriller that is worth the read as it exposes the social ills that bedevilled Nigeria, which was an extension to the mob action that consumed three boys in their prime.
Featured Image Source: University Of Cambridge
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This article was first published on 31st December 2021