2021 is the year of African authors and artists. Be it painters like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Amoako Boafo, or musicians like Tinashe, Noname, or artists like Gio Swaby or writers like Akwaeke Emezi, black people are everywhere and they are finally receiving the applause and recognition they deserve. Here is a list of the 10 best books by African authors in 2021.
10 Best Books by African Authors in 2021:
- Dear Senthuran – Akwaeke Emezi
- The Madhouse – T. J. Benson
- The Fortune Men – Nadifa Mohamed
- Home is Not a Country – Safia Elhillo
- Peaces – Helen Oyeyemi
- The Window Seat – Aminatta Forna
- A Blood Condition – Kayo Chingonyi
- How Beautiful We Were – Imbolo Mbue
- An Unusual Grief – Yewande Omotoso
- Sleep Well, My Lady – Kwei Quartey
Dear Senthuran – Akwaeke Emezi
This is a memoir by Emezi collected in letters. Some of the main focus of this book is a success, human frailty, identity, mental health, and rash decisions. Emezi presents how it feels to live and experience the life of an ogbanje. It could also be taken as a guide to living the life you want and exploring your ambitions abandoning all the things that are holding you back and not serving you right.
The Madhouse – T. J. Benson
Andre and Max have an outwardly idyllic life until the boys initiate sharing dreams and their lifcommencesce to untie fatal beliefs, fanatic dreams, and they’re somewhat indestructible traveling between actuality and trance would escort them down indefinite paths that intimidate to severe their relations. Through this book, Benson knits a hypnotic story about the conflicts between cultures, the collision of frail political conditions on people.
The Fortune Men – Nadifa Mohamed
When a shopkeeper is murdered all eyes fell on Mahmood Mattan, but he is not worried. As his wife Laure kicked him out of the house to clear the debts, a lot of people saw him enter the shop that night. Even though love provides him immunity, Mahmood struggles in a conflict between his life and the conspiracies and cruelties going on against him, and although he was not worried at the beginning now the truth might not be adequate to save him.
Home is Not a Country – Safia Elhillo
Nima does not feel recognized and understood by her mother, but she has her childhood best friend Haitham with whom she can be herself until she doesn’t. But to alter her life she needs more fierceness, a changed life, and a new name, Yasmeen.
Peaces – Helen Oyeyemi
A captivating story focusing on Otto and Xavier, Peaces presents the experience of getting seen and recognized by someone else and from their perspective. That person could be a stranger on a train or a lover and how things go when your past and the traumas that you thought are there anymore sit right beside you.
The Window Seat – Aminatta Forna
This book by the award-winning author talks about crossing borders both philosophical and literal, and human nexus with the natural world. The general theme is about traveling and migration either by necessity or choice.
A Blood Condition – Kayo Chingonyi
This book by Chingonyi focuses profoundly on personal life – from the Zambezi banks to London. It presents how time and distance, history, and nation can crumble within a body. It focuses on themes like grief, survival, letting go, and renewal.
How Beautiful We Were – Imbolo Mbue
Set in Kurosawa, a fictional African village – this book tells the story of the population surviving with fear amidst the degradation in the environment caused by an American oil company. The situation is as worse as one could imagine – children are dying due to poisonous water, farmlands turning infertile due to pipeline spills, and more. It is narrated by a family of a girl named Thula who will grow up to become revolutionary.
An Unusual Grief – Yewande Omotoso
This book is a voyage of a mother to know and about her dead daughter. It takes her on a strange journey of self-exploration, both sexual and mental. After Yinka dies Mojisola finally stopped running from the distress and difficulties in their relationship. When she steps on her daughter’s shoes and gets familiar with her daughter’s life she does not only discover her daughter’s life but also about herself.
Sleep Well, My Lady – Kwei Quartey
Augustus Seeza is a household name in Ghana, he is a talk show host but he is more popular because of the rumours about womanizing, alcoholism, and overspending. Augustus is dating Lady Araba, who is leading a self-made fashion kingdom. According to Araba’s family, Seeza is in a relationship with her because of her wealth and they want to separate them. A few days later, right before an important runway show, Araba is found dead. Dele, Araba’s favourite aunt suspects Seeza. A year later Dele approaches Emma Djan and from this part onwards the story gets more interesting as it digs deep towards the killer of Araba’s murder.