The first four books in this list are all by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and I can’t recommend them enough; Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck and Americanah. In this list, there is also a huge selection of books set in Nigeria written by other authors including Chinua Achebe.
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2003: Fifteen-year-old Kambili’s world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound. Her wealthy Catholic father, under whose shadow Kambili lives, while generous and politically active in the community, is repressive and fanatically religious at home.
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2006: With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. You should really read this book if you have not.
- The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2009: Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, the collection of stories in this book shows you Adichie’s signature in emotional wisdom, a collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2013: As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can.
- The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin, 2010: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is a perceptive, entertaining, and eye-opening novel of polygamy in modern-day Nigeria. The struggles, rivalries, intricate family politics, and the interplay of personalities and relationships within the complex private world of a polygamous union come to life in this novel.
- Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe, 1987: Chris, Ikem and Beatrice are like-minded friends working under the military regime of His Excellency, the Sandhurst-educated President of Kangan. In the pressurized atmosphere of oppression and intimidation, they are simply trying to live and love – and remain friends.
- A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe, 1966: The renowned author of Things Fall Apart in this novel foreshadows the Nigerian coups of 1966 and shows the colour and vivacity as well as the violence and corruption of a society making its own way between the two worlds.
- Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy 1/3) by Chinua Achebe, 1958: Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping stories, both of which centre around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives. The concluding books of this trilogy are No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God