womans lit
Africa,  Literatur/Book Review,  Zimbabwe

Not only on Woman’s Day – African Must Read Literature by Shonatiger

IWD 2022: African women writers you absolutely must read (and others on my reading list)

To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, here’s a non-exhaustive list of some excellent African women writers, and the books that put them on my list. If you click on the name, you will be taken to the author’s Wikipedia page, where available. Where I wrote a review on my blog, I have added the link below.

Petina Gappah

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I’m in awe of Ms Gappah’s writing, which in my opinion is always excellent, with her distinct authorial voice. My post on Out of Darkness, Shining Light.

Molara Wood

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I loved this collection. My post on Indigo.

Yvonne Vera


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Yvonne Vera is one of the giants of Zimbabwean literature. My post on Butterfly Burning here, and on The Stone Virgins here.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

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Another amazing writer, consistently excellent in her output. Kintu use one of my all-time favourite books. My post on The First Woman here.

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Tsitsi Dangarembga

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There is hardly any need to introduce this Zimbabwean hero. Here’s a post I wrote about her for CultureAfrica in 2021, when she received the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

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Another phenomenal writer. A link to my write-up on Dust here.

N. K. Jemisin

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One of the greatest SF writers alive, she was the first writer to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years, and also the first to win for all three novels in a trilogy. Her world-building is unmatched.

Nnedi Okorafor


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Another great writer. I read part of the Binti trilogy, but she has many other books.

Mariama Bâ

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This excellent book was one of two novels Ms Bâ wrote in French, which were both translated into many languages.

Jamaica Kincaid

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Girl, a short story, was my introduction to Ms Kincaid. This book, A Small Place, was funny and smart on post-colonialism (my post here).

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

Ayobami Adebayo Stay With Me

A profound read, and one of my favourite novels.

Bernadine Evaristo


Absolutely deserved the accolades.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Pick one! Ms Adichie may be the most famous contemporary African woman writer.

Lola Shoneyin


This delightful book is a book everyone must read!

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma


A deeply unsettling book about the troubles in southern Zimbabwe in the early 1980s.

Namwali Serpell

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In addition to her novel, The Old Drift, Serpell is the author of some wonderful and sometimes experimental short stories, including The Account.

Warsan Shire


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Ms Shire is a modern poet.

Tomi Adeyemi

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A wonderful addition to what is a genre on its own, Africanfuturism.

Doreen Baingana


A short read.

This, of course, cannot be an exhaustive list of great women writers from Africa or of African descent. Here are more writers, and the books I look forward to reading:

Edwidge Danticat


Aminatta Forna


Okwiri Oduor

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Oduor won the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing for her excellent story, My Father’s Head. I look forward to her upcoming novel, out soon.

H. J. Golakai

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I have not read these yet (embarrassed to say), but Golakai is a prolific and excellent short story writer, and I have enjoyed her short stories.

Nadifa Mohammed


Lauren Beukes


Chibundu Onuzo


I read Welcome to Lagos, which was interesting and rather sad. Sankofa came out in 2021, and is on my list.

Chika Unigwe

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Leila Aboulela

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Nana Nkweti


Nesrine Malik

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Imbolo Mbue


Sefi Atta

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Ayesha Harruna Attah

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