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If you are looking to diversify your reading around the globe, explore these books about Nigeria and Nigerian novels and authors to read before you go.
Searching for books set in Nigeria to read before you travel there? Or, are you looking for books about Nigeria to transport you abroad from your armchair and teach you about other places and cultures? What are the most famous Nigerian novels and who are their authors?
While I am not an expert in Nigerian literature, after devouring Ties That Tether and one of the best books of 2020, The Death Of Vivek Oji, I knew that I had to read more books about Nigeria. Plus, in college, I studied British colonialism in India and would love to further that knowledge in other countries.
Below, find books about Nigeria that offer insight into Nigerian culture, history, and war as well as represent books about colonialism, identity, immigration, and migration. Many of these Nigerian novels will explore themes about home, family, marriage, and being true to our hearts.
Also, uncover both older and more contemporary books about Nigeria and ones on our TBR list. We’ll end this Nigerian reading list with mini-bios for many of the popular Nigerian authors. Let’s get started!
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Books About Nigeria & Nigerian Culture And History
Said to be one of the best historical fiction books about Nigeria, Half of a Yellow Sun portrays Biafra’s struggle to become an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s. The story shares one part of Nigerian’s tumultuous history after British Independence and the Nigerian Civil War, or Biafran War.
Readers follow Ugwu, Olanna, and Richard. Ugwu works for a University professor, Olanna is the professor’s mistress, and Richard is a timid British man.
With the advancement of the Nigerian troops, all three must run for their lives to survive. Half Of A Yellow Sun is a powerful story and slower burn about colonialism, race, power, class, and love. Amazon | Goodreads
One of the fictional romance books about Nigeria (but not set in Nigeria) on this reading list, Ties That Tether follows Azere as she battles marrying outside of her culture.
Born in Nigeria, Azere and her family move to Canada. On her father’s deathbed, she promises him that she will marry an Edo man, which is not so easy in Canada.
Enter gorgeous and sincere — and white — Rafael during a one night stand. Rafael turns out to be Azere’s new coworker, and for many reasons, she cannot let him go.
Azere must determine how to celebrate her Nigerian heritage while remaining true to her heart, even if her mother disowns her. Not to mention that Rafael has a few secrets of his own.
A poignant multicultural romance about love and culture, Igharo examines the battles interracial couples face in themselves and within their families. Azere is a strong but loyal woman who cannot say no to her stubborn mother.
One of the must-read Nigerian novels and series on my TBR list includes Chinua Achebe’s The African Trilogy. The first of the three books, Things Fall Apart portrays European colonialism and its effects on the people of Nigeria.
Things Fall Apart first published two years before Nigerian Independence from the British and focuses on a pre-colonial life. Okonkwo is a successful farmer — and self-made man — with a family of three wives and many children. Anger and fear rule his life, though, and readers watch Okonkwo’s reactions as a new power takes over.
More Books About Nigeria From Chinua Achebe
No Longer at Ease (The African Trilogy Book 2) – The grandson of Okonkwo, Obi, returns from England after finishing his education. He finds himself trapped between two worlds and struggles with the corruption of the ruling elite.
Arrow Of God (The African Trilogy Book 3) – Rivals threaten Ezeulu, the chief priest’s, power under the rule of the colonial government. He is prepared to fight at all costs, believing he is indestructible.
There Was a Country – Achebe’s memoir of the Nigerian Civil War, or Biafran War, of 1967–1970.
The Trouble With Nigeria – Chinua Achebe examines the problems within Nigeria, such as the failure of leadership, and wishes to inspire Nigerians to reject their prohibiting former habits.
A book about polygamy in modern-day Nigeria, Nigerian poet and writer Lola Shoneyin shares the complex life of family politics and polygamous marriages.
Baba Segi isn’t the most desirable of husbands, but his wives all feel that he has saved them from worse fates. His newest wife, Bolanli, who is educated, upsets the dynamics of his three other wives.
Even More Books About Nigeria
Under The Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta – A novel inspired by Nigerian folktales, watch as Ijeoma struggles toward selfhood while Nigeria recovers from war and prejudices.
Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo – Not wanting to kill innocent civilians, Chike Ameobi travels to Lagos and straight into a scandal involving the education minister. Chike pulls together a group of runaways that all want the chance at a better life.
Aké: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka – Nobel Prize-winning Soyinka shares growing up in a Yoruba village in Western Africa before WW2.
Books Set In Nigeria
One of the absolute best books of 2020, The Death of Vivek Oji is one of the newer and LGBTQ+ books set in Nigeria on this reading list. You will feel the ambiance and culture of Nigeria in every chapter.
The story begins with the death of Vivek Oji. His naked and bleeding body lays across his mother’s doorstep. No one knows how this tragedy happened.
Throughout the novel, Vivek battles who he feels like inside versus the outside appearances he must keep up for society. Within the safety net of his cousins and childhood friends’ homes, Vivek finds the love, acceptance, and freedom to express himself.
Readers learn the meaning of community, and what happens when people refuse to recognize and celebrate our differences. Kavita, Vivek’s mom, is an essential character. Vivek’s courage is inspiring.
More Books Set About Nigeria From Akwaeke Emezi
Freshwater – Ada is prone to violent fits and develops separate selves. When she leaves Nigeria for college in North Carolina, she becomes powerless to the forces in her mind.
Set in Enugu, Nigeria, sister and brother — Kambili and Jaja — live sheltered yet wealthy and privileged lives. Although their home situation looks fortunate from the outside, their father, Eugene, is a cruel religious fanatic that dictates their lives.
Against the backdrop of a military coup, Eugene allows his sister to take the children for a while where they struggle to adapt to a different type of family life and values. It is here that Kambili falls in love with a celibate priest.
More Books About Nigeria From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Ifemelu leaves Nigeria for America where she feels what it is like to be Black for the first time. Expecting to join her, Obinze gets trapped undocumented in London. It’s over a decade later before they reunite in a new Nigeria.
Zikora: A Short Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – A short story that you can read in under one-hour, DC Nigerian-born Zikora finds herself pregnant and abandoned by the child’s father. When her mother visits for the birth, she learns more about herself and her family. With Amazon Prime, I was able to read this beautiful short story about Nigerian families for free. Book Information→
If you are looking for YA fantasy books set in Nigeria, don’t miss Children Of Blood And Bone — the first in the Legacy of Orisha series. Children of Virtue and Vengeance is the second novel, which I still need to read.
I loved this fast-paced romance and thriller set in Ilorian. One night, all of the magic in Orïsha disappears as the king orders all of the maji dead. Zélie Adebola sets out against the monarchy to bring back the magic. Zélie is caught off guard when she begins falling for one of the enemies. Amazon | Goodreads | Book Information→
One of the books set in Nigeria for younger readers and Harry Potter fans, don’t miss Akata Witch. Magic meets feminism and friendship in this fast-paced fantasy world. Akata Witch is also a book about racism.
Born in America but Nigerian, Sunny and her overprotective family move back to Nigeria. Sunny is bullied in school for being an albino and feels like an outcast until she meets three new friends — all bound together by powerful secrets. Sunny and her friends must stop an evil and magical criminal before it’s too late. Amazon | Goodreads
Even More Books Set In Nigeria
The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré – One of the books about Nigeria that I’ve been on a never-ending library holds list for includes The Girl With The Louding Voice. A coming-of-age story, Adunni wants to build a better life for herself and receive an education to become a teacher. She escapes an arranged marriage as a third wife but ends up employed and abused in another household. Book Information→
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ – Set in Ilesa, Nigeria, Yejide and Akin never believed in having a polygamous marriage. When Yejide cannot conceive, though, a second wife enters the scene.
Famous & Popular Nigerian Authors
Chinua Achebe was born in 1930 and passed away in March 2013. He was an acclaimed Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He published his first novel, Things Fall Apart in 1958 and helped revive African literature.
Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ is an award-wining Nigerian author. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Stay With Me is her debut novel.
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American author. Children Of Blood and Bone was her first YA bestselling fantasy novel and is set to become a movie. She is a Harvard University graduate.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an award-winning and bestselling author who grew up in Nigeria. She is also a TED Talk speaker and MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Abi Daré is an award-winning Nigerian author who grew up in Lagos. She now resides in the UK with her family. Daré holds an MSc in International Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London.
Akwaeke Emezi is an artist and award-winning writer. Born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria, they write nonfiction, fiction, and YA books. Emezi is an advocate for Black Trans rights.
Similar to Azere in Ties That Tether, Jane Abieyuwa Igharo was born in Nigeria and moved to Canada. Igharo holds a journalism degree from the University of Toronto. Ties that Tether is her debut novel.
Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, or Wole Soyinka, is a 1986 Nobel laureate. He grew up in Abeokuta, in Western Nigeria, and is a Nigerian playwright, actor, poet, and essayist. Soyinka wrote in English. Yoruba myths, his life in exile and prison, and politics influenced his writings.
What other books about or set In Nigeria have you read? Do you have a favorite Nigerian author?
Do you have a favorite Nigerian author or novel? What books set in Nigeria have you read already, and what is on your TBR list? As mentioned above, TUL is not a Nigerian novels expert and would love to know which books should be on our list. Drop us a comment.