Best Literature Writers in Africa and their Country

The list of the best Literature writers in Africa and their country are drafted here for you and you will need to pay a close attention to each of them as they play significant roles in selling African Literature or stories to the world. 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 Africa’s best contemporary writers.

Best Literature Writers in Africa and their Country

Below are the list of the best Literature writers in Africa and their country. Rest assured, you will find each and every one on this list very amusing as they are revealed to be creative and strong in their own ways and styles. Along with these literary stars, short analyses are brewed about the books that shot them into the stars:

Wole Soyinka

In a list of the best African writers it would be easy to mention any of the four who have won the Nobel Prize in Literature: Nadine Gordimer, Naguib Mahfouz, J.M. Coetzee, or Wole Soyinka from Nigeria. We’ve chosen Wole Soyinka to finish this list of the best African writers of recent history because in 1986, he was the very first African writer to receive this award.

Wole Soyinka is a prolific author who’s written novels, memoirs, short stories, essays, poetry, and numerous theatrical plays. The Nobel committee specifically called out the richness of Soyinka’s universe that “with a cultural and poetical perspective, models the drama of human existence.”

While Wole Soyinka has written in many media, he is first and foremost a playwright. And Death and the King’s Horseman is the most well-known, most studied, and most discussed play by Soyinka. Written in 1975, this anti-colonialist drama was inspired by real-life events when the king died during the colonization of Nigeria by the British Empire. According to Yoruba tradition, his dog, his horse, and his horseman were to accompany him in death. Drama ensues when a British officer who finds the practice barbaric intervenes.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Ngugi wa Thiongʼo is a Kenyan author whose works are written in English and the Kikuyu language. He’s currently professor and director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California.

Ngugi is a prominent intellectual figure in East Africa. At the center of his work, you will find denunciations of colonialism, tensions between Black and white people, and communities torn between European and African cultural influence. From his very first novel, Weep Not, Child, Ngugi touches on these topics through the eyes of the insurgent Kikuyu rebelling against English authorities. But it’s A Grain of Wheat, published in 1967, that gained him international renown.

After decades writing novels in English, Ngugi’s 1986 essay Decolonising the Mind is a farewell to the language: “How was it possible that we, African writers, exercised such weakness in defending our own languages and such greed in claiming foreign languages, starting with those of our colonizers?” Now, Ngugi wa Thiong’o writes only in his native language, Kikuyu, to reach the audience he wants to address first and foremost.

A Grain of Wheat is the novel that gained Ngugi international acclaim and a place among the most successful African writers of the 20th century. It tells a number of intertwined stories that take place during Kenya’s fight for independence. The main plot follows a seemingly calm and solitary young man as he and his home village prepare to celebrate Uhuru Day (Kenyan independence day). But in the background, former members of the resistance prepare to execute a traitor who had betrayed them during the fight.

Chinua Achebe

It’s impossible to talk about African literature without mentioning Chinua Achebe. His two best-known books, Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, have left a lasting mark on literature from the continent.

Achebe’s work is a long reflection on colonialism and its consequences for individuality and the identity of Africans who are torn between two worlds  — traditional and Western society — that they can’t fully belong to. He is one of the most famous African writers, and many expected him to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive the award before his death in 2013.

Perhaps the best known African novel in the English-speaking world, Things Fall Apart tells the story of pre-colonial life in a village in southern Nigeria and the cultural shock that came with the arrival of the British at the end of the 19th century.

This novel is fascinating in many ways: in the glimpse he provides into a past and unrecognizable world and culture; in what he recounts and depicts; in the universalism of the remarks and the reflection on upheavals that communities can be confronted with. Achebe does all this without falling into the nostalgia of the past or blindly promoting the merits of progress.

Ayi Kwei Armah

Ayi Kwei Armah’s novels are known for their intense, powerful depictions of political devastation and social frustration in Armah’s native Ghana, told from the point of view of the individual. His works were greatly influenced by French existential philosophers, such as Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, and as such hold themes of despair, disillusionment and irrationality.

His most famous work, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968) centers around an unnamed protagonist who attempts to understand his self and his country in the wake of post-independence.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is only 42 years old, but she’s already recognized as one of the most significant African writers of her generation. Born and raised in Nigeria before studying in the United States, Adichie started her career to some acclaim with Purple Hibiscus. But it was her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, that cemented her reputation as a writer.

She followed that with Americanah, which tackled issues of racism, feminism, and cultural uprooting with humor and self-derision. While best-known as a fiction writer, her short essay We Should All Be Feminists is also popular, and is distributed yearly to every high schooler in Sweden.

In 2017, Fortune magazine ranked Adichie as one of the 50 most influential people in the world.

Adichie was raised during the aftermath of the Biafran War, and said she felt the need to address the specter

Mariama Bâ

One of Africa’s most influential women authors, Mariama Bâ is known for her powerful feminist texts, which address the issues of gender inequality in her native Senegal and wider Africa.

Bâ herself experienced many of the prejudices facing women: she struggled for an education against her traditional grandparents, and was left to look after her nine children after divorcing a prominent politician.

Her anger and frustration at the patriarchal structures which defined her life spill over into her literature: her novel So Long A Letter (1981) depicts, simultaneously, its protagonist’s strength and powerlessness within marriage and wider society.

Nadine Gordimer

One of the apartheid era’s most prolific South African writers, Nadine Gordimer’s works powerfully explore social, moral, and racial issues in a South Africa under apartheid rule. Despite winning a Nobel Prize in Literature for her prodigious skills in portraying a society interwoven with racial tensions, Gordimer’s most famous and controversial works were banned from South Africa for daring to speak out against the oppressive governmental structures of the time.

Her novel Burger’s Daughter follows the struggles of a group of anti-apartheid activists, and was read in secret by Nelson Mandela during his time on Robben Island.

Aminatta Forna

Born in Glasgow but raised in Sierra Leone, Aminatta Forna first drew attention for her memoir The Devil That Danced on Water (2003), an extraordinarily brave account of her family’s experiences living in war-torn Sierra Leone, and in particular her father’s tragic fate as a political dissident. Forna has gone on to write several novels, each of them critically acclaimed: her work The Memory of Love (2010) juxtaposes personal stories of love and loss within the wider context of the devastation of the Sierre Leone civil war, and was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

of historical violence in her writing.

Alain Mabanckou

Alain Mabanckou is a French-Congolese writer and a professor of French literature at the University of California. He became known in 1998 with his first novel, Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, for which he received the Grand prix littéraire d’Afrique noire — one of the major literary prizes for French-language literature in Africa.

Mabanckou’s novel Verre cassé (Broken Glass), which recounts the lives of the regulars in a bar in Brazzaville, made him a well-known name among the general public. But it’s mostly Mémoires de porc-épic (Memoirs of a Porcupine), longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize and the winner of the 2006 Prix Renaudot, which gave him public exposure as a prominent contemporary African writer. He also published the exceptional essay Dictionnaire enjoué des cultures africaines (“Joyful Dictionary of African Cultures”) in collaboration with Djibouti novelist Abdourahman Waberi.

With great simplicity, Alain Mabanckou recounts the life of a Congolese boy — Petit Piment, which literally means “Little Pepper” — through the 1960s and ’70s. It’s a life full of adventures that tells the story of Mabanckou’s Congo, as well as the upheavals of history. The book is short and quick to read, and it makes a marvelous introduction to the very particular universe of the author.

Nuruddin Farah

Born in Somalia in 1945, Nuruddin Farah has written numerous plays, novels and short stories, all of which revolve around his experiences of his native country, Somalia.

The title of his first novel From a Crooked Rib (1970) stems from a Somalian proverb “God created woman from a crooked rib, and anyone who trieth to straighten it, breaketh it”, and is a commentary on the sufferings of women in Somalian society through the narrative of a young woman trapped in an unhappy marriage.

His subsequent works feature similar social criticism, dealing with themes of war and post-colonial identity.

Ben Okri

Ben Okri’s childhood was divided between England and time in his native Nigeria. He is a Nigerian by birth. His young experience greatly informed his future writing: his first, highly acclaimed novels Flowers and Shadows (1980) and The Landscapes Within (1981) were reflections on the devastation of the Nigerian civil war which Okri himself observed firsthand.

His later novels met with equal praise: The Famished Road (1991), which tells the story of Azaro, a spirit child, is a fascinating blend of realism and depictions of the spirit world, and won the Booker Prize.

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