Literary Recommendations — 5 Books by Nigerians You Need to Read in 2020

I’m a Nigerian and I really haven’t been reading works by Nigerians, so henceforth each month I must read a book by a Nigerian each month. There are many amazing titles by Nigerians, that I know need a lot of love and I hope sharing them here on my blog helps with grabbing your attention/makes you pick up a title or more.

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Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

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On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls. Some managed to escape. Many are still missing. A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband—these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. A girl who works hard in school and to help her family. A girl with a future as bright as live coals in the dark. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone—her mother, her five brothers, her best friend, her teachers—can see that these dreams aren’t too far out of reach. Even if the voices on Papa’s radio tell more fearful news than tales to tell by moonlight.

But the girl’s dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she’s been told. Still, the girl defends her existence. As impossible as escape may seem, her life—her future—is hers to fight for.

David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa 

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Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.

A Small Silence by Jumoke Verissimo

A Small Silence by A Small Silence

Imprisoned for ten years for his rage against society, activist and retired academic Prof resolves to live a life of darkness after his release from prison. He holes up in his apartment, pushing away friends and family, and embraces his status as an urban legend in the neighbourhood until a knock at the door shakes his new existence. His new visitor is Desire, an orphan and final year student, who has grown up idolising Prof, following a fateful encounter in her hometown of Maroko as a child. Tentatively, the two begin to form a bond, as she returns every night at 9pm to see him. However, the darkness of the room becomes a steady torment, that threatens to drive Desire away for good.  A Small Silence is an intimate and evocative debut charges us to look again at the alienating effects of trauma and the power of solitude and darkness to ignite the imagination.

The Mechanics of Yenagoa by Michael Afenfia

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Ebinimi, star mechanic of Kalakala Street, is a man with a hapless knack for getting in and out of trouble. Some of his troubles are self-inflicted: like his recurring entanglements in love triangles; and his unauthorised joyriding of a customer’s car which sets off a chain of dire events involving drugs, crooked politicians, and assassins. Other troubles are caused by the panorama of characters in his life, like: his sister and her dysfunctional domestic situation; the three other mechanics he employs; and the money-loving preacher who has all but taken over his home.

The story is fast-paced with surprising twists and a captivating plot – a Dickenesque page-turner. This is Ebinimi’s story but it is about a lot more than him. It is an exploration of the dynamics between working-class people as they undertake a colourful tour of Yenagoa, one of Nigeria’s lesser-known cities, while using humour, sex, and music, as coping mechanisms for the everyday struggle.

It is a modern-classic tale of small lives navigating a big city.

Dawsk by Erhu Kome Yellow 

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Hardworking nurse Simisola Oladeji is unlucky in love.

When reclusive billionaire Aiden Essien walks into her life, she knows there will be no future with him and even more so when she stumbles upon his bloodthirsty secret.
She is safer reuniting with her long-lost boyfriend Femi, surely?

Caught between the two, trouble is never far away as she discovers some disturbing truths about her past life. A dark force is rising, and the messy trio is going to have to fight, together, to save lives.

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