African Women Writers You "Should" Read


African authors are not too well known in Switzerland especially the female authors as I have learned, even by the people who have a general interest in Africa or business in/with Africa.

This piece is not about the general development of the history of literature in Africa rather it is about drawing attention to the Africa women writers and their works which are not quite known in this part of Europe something I feel should not be. I feel should read if you have any chance, interest and time.

 My hobbies are African Art, African history and African literature. After staying more than a decade in Africa, I have recognized that the African women are the main pillar of the African societies, a reason why Africa is still functioning in spite of all the hardships they are going through. The focus of African women is on their families, including extended families. And because of their discipline and the high interest in learning and study they do not like to focus only on the added value of their own career but also like to add value to their societies and nations as well if and when possible.

This could be seen in the recent development in which Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigerian) became the new director general of the WTO, and Samia Suluhu Hassan the new President of Tansania after the death of John Magufuli.

Also two ladies with African ancestry family history recently earned global recognitions.                  

The first, Armanda Gorman who was, overnight, recognized positively for her poem "The hill we climb" delivered on 20 January 2021 at the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the USA. Also Bernadine Evaristo the British-Nigerian award winning author of several books emerged as one of Britain's most talented, innovative and successful contemporary writers. Her book "Girl, woman, other" translated into German became a top-seller this year in Switzerland and Germany. 

It is interesting, however, to see that the Nigerian women writers have a higher share of the African women writers’ book titles published. When many of these books are being translated into other languages particularly German I believe their reach will be wider even in Switzerland and other German speaking countries.


A few of my favorites among the books by African women authors include:

Americanah (Chimamandu Ngozi Adichie)

Ghana must go ( Taiye Selasi)

The secret lives of the four wives ( Lola Shoneyin)

Among the many other African Women writers you should read are:


Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, born and raised in Kampala / Uganda. She joined the Manchester Metropolitan University to do an MA in Creative Writing and completed a PhD in Creative Writing at Lancasher University. She has three books to her credit namely: A Girl is a Body of Water; Let's Tell this Story Properly; and Kintu.

Nnedi Okorafor (Ph.D) born in the US to two Nigerians (Igbo), immigrant parents. He is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. He has written over 17 books and received many awards including Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature.

Zuksiwa Wanner born to a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother from Zambia. She is the founder of ReadSA – a writer initiated campaign to get South African reading more Africa literature. He has four books to her credit.

Marguerite Abouet is an Ivorian writer, best known for her graphic novel series Aya (3 books) and Akissi.                         

Leila Aboulela, a Sudanese-born writer whose work, written in English, has received critical acclaim and a high profile for its distinctive exploration of identity, migration and Islamic Spirituality. Her work includes: The Kindness of Enemies; Minaret; Coloured; Lyric Alley and The Translator.

Helen Oyeyemi a Nigerian raised in South London. She finished her first novel ‘The Icarus Girl’ at 18, and has published over six books among them are: Gingerbread; What is not Yours is not Yours; Boy; Snow; Bird; Mr. Fox; White is for Witching; The opposite House.

Ahdaf Soueif is an Egyptian novelist and a political and cultural commentator. She has published nine books, among them are: This is not a Border; Cairo; Reflections; Mezzaterra; The map of love; and In the Eye of the Sun.                     

There are more other African women writers whose works are equally great, interesting, informative and educative as well. They have contributed richly to the African Literature to the delight of the Africans and non-Africans.

Many of these books are available in Switzerland at bookshop "@orell.fü" and any other bookshops which market English books. Some are being translated into German and are available bookshops too.

I hope this little write-up will stir readers’ interest and motivate them to read more African women writers’ work and African literature.