Famous African Literature Books That You Should Read

When it comes to literature, Africa has produced some of the most outstanding writers in history. From Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Half of a Yellow Sun”, the continent has a rich literary history. These authors have created works that are both culturally significant and emotionally stirring. Below are some of the most famous African literature books that you should add to your reading list.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

This 1958 novel is a masterpiece that explores the conflict between colonialism and traditional African culture. The story follows Okonkwo, a respected leader in the Igbo community, as he tries to navigate the changes brought by white missionaries and colonialism. The book is a powerful commentary on the impact of colonialism on African societies and the struggles that they faced.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This 2006 book tells the story of characters caught up in the Nigerian Civil War, which took place from 1967 to 1970. The novel, which has won numerous awards, explores themes of love, friendship, and betrayal against the backdrop of political upheaval in Nigeria. It is a must-read for anyone interested in African history and culture.

The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz

This trilogy of novels, written by Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, is set against the backdrop of the Egyptian revolution in the early 20th century. The books follow the life of a family living in Cairo during that tumultuous time, and offer a glimpse into the political and social changes happening in the region. The trilogy won Mahfouz the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988.

So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ

This novel, written by Senegalese author Mariama Bâ, explores themes of tradition, gender roles, and the challenges faced by women in Africa. The story is told through the eyes of a recently widowed woman who writes a letter to a friend describing her struggles and experiences. The book is a powerful commentary on the struggles of African women to assert themselves in a male-dominated society.

Things Fall Apart by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

This 1977 novel is a powerful critique of colonialism and its impact on African societies. The story follows the life of Njoroge, a young Kenyan boy, as he struggles to come to terms with his identity and the changes brought by colonialism. The book is an important contribution to the ongoing debates on the impact of colonialism on African societies.


African literature is full of powerful and impactful works that offer deeper insights into the continent’s history and culture. These few examples are just a starting point for anyone interested in exploring the rich literary heritage of Africa. Make sure to add these famous African literature books to your reading list and broaden your perspective on the continent.

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