The Most Anticipated African Books of 2023
Every year, African literature becomes richer. Authors and writers write outstanding and profound books that keep putting the continent on a higher literary scale. This year, BellaNaija Features is launching its first-ever Book Club, and we’re inviting our amazing readers to nominate their favourite books by African authors.
We are also excited to share a compilation of very much anticipated books by African writers that are coming out this year. This list, in no particular order, is privy to announcements made by publishers of the books and/or authors themselves.
Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson
To be published in May, Caleb’s Small Worlds is definitely a book to look out for after dazzling us with his groundbreaking and award-winning first novel, Open Water. Caleb Nelson is a Ghanaian writer based in the UK who has won multiple major awards with Open Water. While forthcoming, Small Worlds has been optioned for TV. It is acquired by Brock Media, a production company backed by BBC Studios.
What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro
DK Nnuro is a Ghanaian-born writer and graduate of Johns Hopkins and Iowa Writers’ Workshop. DK is one of the fantastic Ghanaian storytellers and What Could Napoleon Could Not Do is his debut novel. It’s been a long time coming.
Don’t Answer When They Call Your Name by Ukamaka Olisakwe
Ukamaka Olisakwe is known for her compelling magic of storytelling. Her first novel, Ogadinma, or Everything Will Be Alright was critically accepted and widely read in Nigeria. A Nigerian writer currently living in the U.S., Don’t Answer When They Call Your Name is a Young Adult story of African teenagers.
Daughter in Exile by Bisi Adjapon
Bisi is a Nigerian-Ghanaian-American writer. Her first novel, The Teller of Secrets, was critically accepted. Bisi was praised by Dave Eggers, a Pulitzer Winner who says that “she writes with incredible vividness and clarity. Her similes and attention to all of the senses are really extraordinary.” Daughter in Exile is coming this month and it is definitely going to be a hit like her first.
A Spell of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
Six years after her stunning debut novel, Stay With Me, Ayobami is back with a compelling novel that narrates another domestic story. A Spell of Good Things is Ayobami’s second book and reviews have been awesome so far.
The Middle Daughter by Chika Unigwe
Chika Unigwe’s previous books, Better Than Lives, On Black Sisters’ Street, and Better Late Than Ever, are enough to bear testament to how enthralling The Middle Daughter will be. The Nigerian, US-based writer has surely mastered the art of storytelling.
Small by Small by Ike Anya
A debut memoir for Ike Anya whose writing has appeared in Granta and other places. Small by Small details stories of his life and as a medical practitioner in Nigeria. The book is coming in May.
Strange and Difficult Times: Notes on a Global Pandemic by Nanjala Nyabola
Nanjala Nyabola, a Kenyan activist, has been passionate about African issues for years. Her writing also extensively explores African matters. We can’t wait.
Rose and the Burma Sky by Rosanna Amaka
The book is described by Penguin Books as “The heartrending unrequited love story of a black soldier in the Second World War.”
River Spirit by Leila Aboulela
Leila Aboulela was listed as a New York Times Notable Author and was a previous winner of the prestigious Ako African Caine Prize. There are writers who are known for their gorgeous writing and the Sudanese writer is unarguably one. From Minaret to The Translator, The Kindness of Enemies, and now River Spirit, we surely look forward to this book.
Innards: Stories by Magogodi oaMphela Makhene
This incendiary debut of linked stories narrates the everyday lives of Soweto residents, from the early years of apartheid to its dissolution and beyond. Magogodi oaMphela Makhene is a fantastic writer and her writing has been applauded internationally. Born in Soweto, South Africa, she was shortlisted for Caine Prize for African Writing in 2017.
The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams
Ore Agbaje-Williams’s debut novel, The Three of Us will be published in the UK, US and Canada this year. We are excited and look forward to the book.
The Road To The Country by Chigozie Obioma
Chigozie Obioma’s The Road To The Country is a gift to the world; one we cannot wait to receive and relish. We are excited!
Last Seen in Lapaz by Kwei Quartey
We are so looking forward to Kwei Quartey’s excellent novel. The previous novels were simply superb and we’re confident Last Seen in Lapaz won’t be an exception.
Drinking from Graveyard Wells by Yvette Lisa Ndlovu
Zimbabwean author, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu, has a debut short story collection forthcoming and we are looking forward to the magic that the book is.
I Am Still With You by Emmanuel Iduma
Emmanuel Iduma A Stranger’s Pose shows he’s a genius. The Nigerian writer mentioned in a social media post that I Am Still With You is the book he’s been preparing to write for most of his life. Listen, we’d be honoured to read this.
House Woman by Adorah Nworah
Adorah Nworah is a Nigerian author based in the U.S. Her debut novel, House Woman, is a fast-paced social thriller that narrates the story of a young Nigerian woman sent to the U.S. to marry a man, and live with him and his parents.
We look forward to every African book forthcoming this year.
We’ll be updating this list as often as we can. If you are an author whose book(s) will be released this year and you want it included in this list, please send an email to [email protected]