Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka are probably the only two names you know because you read them at one time while still in school. It should give you pleasure to know that the literary output of Nigeria is far from limited to these two greats.
Here are eight more authors whose international success attest to their talent and the profundity in contemporary Nigerian literature.
READ ALSO: 10 African Writers You Should Know
- Chinua Achebe: Chinua Achebe is one of the most internationally-acclaimed writers from Africa, and his death in 2013 was recognized globally. He has often been called ‘The Father of Nigerian Literature’ with his works revealing a tapestry of cultural norms, changing societal values, and an individual’s struggle to find a place in this environment.
- Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: This Novelist, journalist and essayist won her first writing prize when she was 13 and has contributed to the New York Times, the BBC, the Guardian and CNN, among others as a Journalist. You should check out her debut novel I Do Not Come to You By Chance.
- Femi Osofisan: Femi Osofisan’s plays, poems and novels is informed by colonialism and its legacy, and is a clear protest against corruption and injustice. His best-known play, Women of Owu is a retelling of Euripides’ The Trojan Women where Osofisan translates the play to the Ijebe and Ife war that devastated the Owu Kingdom in 1821-26.
- Buchi Emecheta: Buchi was born in Lagos to Igbo parents and moved to London in 1960 to live with her husband Sylvester Onwordi, who had moved there to study. Her most acclaimed work, The Joys of Motherhood, has its protagonist as a woman who defines herself through motherhood and validates her life solely through the successes of her children.
- Ben Okri: Ben Okri is a renowned novelist and poet whose written works mostly defy definition. He is often termed post-modern, yet his seamless interweaving of the spirit world into his stories belies this genre. His most famous work is The Famished Road(1991), forming part of a trilogy with Songs of Enchantment and Infinite Riches chronicles the journeys of Azaro, a spirit-child narrator.
- Helon Habila: After graduating from the University of Jos in 1995, Helon Habila worked first as a junior lecturer in Bauchi, then as Stories Editor for Hints magazine, before moving to England in 2002 His first novel Waiting for an Angel was published that same year and is a book that collectively speaks of life under dictatorship rule in Nigeria.
- Sefi Atta: Sefi Atta’s debut novel Everything Good Will Come, is the story of Enitan, an 11-year-old girl waiting for school to start, and her friendship with the girl next door, which receives little support from Enitan’s deeply religious mother. Atta is widely known for her radio plays, which have been broadcast on the BBC, and her short stories.
- Teju Cole: This Photographer, art historian, novelist and Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bart College, New York was born in the US to Nigerian parents, raised in Nigeria and now living in Brooklyn. Open City which is his debut novel, is set in New York five years after 9/11.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Adichie is part of a new generation of Nigerian authors speedily growing in fame as each of her novels has garnered universal acclaim and a lot of awards. Her first two books dealt largely with the political atmosphere of her native country through the prism of personal and familial relationships.
- Wole Soyinka: This list will obviously not be complete without the Nobel Laurette won the Prize in 1986. With novels such as Aké: The Years of Childhood and Death and the King’s Horseman, You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir, The trials of Brother Jero, Samarka and other markets I have known, The Beatification of the Area Boy. Soyinka’s novels and poems are based on his own look at his life, experiences, and thoughts about Nigeria and Africa.
DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE WITH YOUR EMAIL BELOW AND GET MORE OF THIS EVERYDAY