It’s World Book day! The yearly event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries across the world. Each year, UNESCO selects the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April onwards. Incheon, South Korea is World Book Capital for 2015.
UNESCO calls the day “an opportunity to recognise the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them.”
So, if you love books and love to actually read them, you should celebrate the World Book Day. How are you celebrating? What book are you reading?
CP Africa is celebrating the World Book Day by bringing to you some of its favourite reads, authored by African women. Enjoy and let us know which is your favourite.
Everything Good Will Come
Authored by Nigerian-born Sefi Atta and published by Interlink World Fiction in 2005, the book is a coming of age novel about a girl growing into a woman in postcolonial Nigeria and England. Throughout the novel, the main character, Enitan, is faced with various issues such as family troubles, rape, cheating boyfriends, and imprisonment. Beyond Enitan’s struggle, the novel is a biting commentary on post-independence governments in Nigeria and tensions between Igbo(Biafrans), Yoruba, and Hausa ethnic groups after the Biafrian War. The novel earned the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature.
So Long a Letter
The book is a semi-autobiographical epistolary novel originally written in French by the Senegalese writer Mariama Bâ. Its theme is the condition of women in Western African society. Published in 1980, Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter recounts the stories of two women and their husbands, lifelong friends living in Senegal during the post-colonial period of national reformulation. The novella is written in the form of a lengthy epistle from one woman, Ramatoulaye, to her beloved friend Aissatou.
The Joys of Motherhood
The Joys of Motherhood is a novel written by Nigerian Author, Buchi Emecheta. It was first published by Allison & Busby in 1979 and was reprinted in Heinemann’s African Writers Series in 2008. The Joys of Motherhood explores the life of a Nigerian woman, Nnu Ego. It tells the tragic story of Nnu-Ego, daughter of Nwokocha Agbadi and Ona, who had a bad fate with childbearing. Nnu Ego’s life revolves around her children, and through them she gains the respect of her society. The book takes us on a journey with Nnu Ego as we participate in her struggle between understanding and accepting the new ways of her people or clinging to her traditional values. This book provides excellent insight to the effects of colonialism on native Nigerians.
Purple Hibiscus is the first novel by Nigerian award winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It was first published by Algonquin Books in 2003. The book is set in postcolonial Nigeria, a country beset by political instability and economic difficulties. The story is told through the eyes Kambili Achike, the central character, and is essentially about the disintegration of her family unit and her struggle to grow to maturity.
This is a book about the promise of freedom; about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new.
This is the debut novel by US based-Ghanaian author Ayesha Harruna Attah. Harmattan Rain follows three generations of women as they cope with family, love and life. A few years before Ghana’s independence, Lizzie-Achiaa’s lover disappears. Intent on finding him, she runs away from home. Akua Afriyie, Lizzie-Achiaa’s first daughter, strikes out on her own as a single parent in a country rocked by successive coups. Her daughter, Sugri grows up overprotected. She leaves home for university in New York, where she learns that sometimes one can have too much freedom. In the end, the secrets parents keep from their children eventually catch up with them.
Harmattan was shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Africa Region.
Nervous Conditions is a novel by Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga, first published in the United Kingdom in 1988 by the Women’s Press. The semi-autobiographical is set in the African country then known as Rhodesia in the early 1960s. The narrator and protagonist is a young black woman named Tambu, who looks back on her experiences as a child and adolescent. The novel portrays the challenges that a young Shona girl faces in her efforts to break free of her impoverished background and acquire an education.
Nervous Conditions attempts to illustrate the dynamic themes of race, class, gender, and cultural change during the post-colonial conditions of present-day Zimbabwe.
Men of the South
Written by South African journalist and novelist, Zukiswa Wanner, Men of the South was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2011. The novel is a fascinating novel about three men out from three worlds. Mfundo the musician and dad, Mzi – gay, but married, and Tinaye – a displaced Zimbabwean in South. Men of the South is a great read that explores the sensitive issues of unemployment, homosexuality and immigration, all subjects that impact modern day societies and affect the ways in which we relate with our families, friends and what society expects of us.
Also written by Chimamanda Adichie, the novel tells the story of a young Nigerian woman who emigrates to the United States for a university education and stays for work. Published in 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf, The novel is a powerful, tender story of race and identity. Americanah also tackles tackles African brain drain, blogging, diasporans returning to Africa, US and British strains of racism
The book was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review. It won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction), and was shortlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction of the United Kingdom.
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
The novel is written by Nigerian poet and author, Lola Shoneyin. It is a multi-protagonist satirical novel that tells a tale of men and women, mothers and children, servitude and independence.The author narrated through the voices of Baba Segi, his wives, and his driver in different chapters, taking the reader through the complexity of trying to co-exist with co-wives with differences in educational background.
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives depicts the common threads that connect the experiences of all women, the hardships they bear, their fierce desire to protect those they love and their struggle to define themselves. Each character in the book has secrets and it is only by letting the secret out that true liberty is achieved.
I Do Not Come to You by Chance
Adaobi Nwaubani‘s debut novel is set amid the perilous world of Nigerian email scams. It tells the story of Kingsley, a university graduate who has finished his engineering degree and is expecting to work for an oil company. After it fails to happen, and the demand to provide for his beloved family increases, Kingsley meets his notorious uncle, Cash Daddy, the larger-than-life mastermind of a thousand e-mail scams.
This book won the Wole Soyinka Prize in 2010, Commonwealth Writers Prize best first book Africa region and a Betty Trask Award from the society of authors in 2010.