9 Legendary Nigerian Writers You Should Know About

Wole Soyinka

Today is World Book Day and as people all over take out time today to celebrate authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

The Nigerian populace on Twitter are sharing their favorite lines from the books they loved, others are naming their favorite books and also, celebrating their favorite scenarios from books they’ve read in the past. We’re taking time to tell you our favorite Nigerian writers that you should completely know about – at least, try reading something from them. There are a whole lot of them and so this list is not definitive.

1. Wole Soyinka

Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright and poet. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be honored in that category. Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. After study in Nigeria and the UK, he worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London. He went on to write plays that were produced in both countries, in theatres and on radio.

Image: Play TV One

2. Nnedi Okoroafor

Nnedi Okoroafor is a Nigerian-American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and Speculative fiction. Nnedi holds a PhD in English and she has 12 books to her name, her first adult novel, Who Fears death won the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, was a 2011 Tiptree Honor Book and was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award.

Image: Joe Mazza/BraveLux
3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Everybody knows Chimamanda. She is a Nigerian novelist, nonfiction writer and short story writer. She has been called “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [that] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), received wide critical acclaim; it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (2005).

Image: Gist Us

4. Chinua Achebe

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe is a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart (1958) was considered his magnum opus, and is the most widely read book in modern African literature.

Image: New African Magazine
5. Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta is is a Nigerian novelist based in Britain who has published more than 20 books, including Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979). Her themes of child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education have won her considerable critical acclaim and honours, including an Order of the British Empire in 2005.

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Image: Pinterest

6. Chris Okigbo

Christopher Ifekandu Okigbo is a Nigerian poet, who died fighting for the independence of Biafra. He is today widely acknowledged as the outstanding postcolonial English-language African poet and one of the major modernist writers of the twentieth century.

Image: Amazon7. Ben Okri

Ben Okri is a Nigerian poet and novelist who is considered one of the foremost African authors in the post-modern and post-colonial traditions. Since he published his first novel, Flowers and Shadows (1980), Okri has risen to an international acclaim, and he is often described as one of Africa’s leading writers. His best known work, The Famished Road, which was awarded the 1991 Booker Prize, along with Songs of Enchantment and Infinite Riches make up a trilogy that follows the life of Azaro, a spirit-child narrator, through the social and political turmoil of an African nation reminiscent of Okri’s remembrance of war-torn Nigeria.

Image: Alchetron

8. Sefi Atta

Sefi Atta is a prize-winning Nigerian author and playwright was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in January 1964, to a family of five children. She graduated from the creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her short stories have appeared in literary journals such as Los Angeles Review, Mississippi Review and World Literature Today. Her books have been translated to several languages.

Image: Sefi Atta
9. Lola Shoneyin

Lola is a Nigerian poet and author who launched her debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, in the UK in May 2010. Shoneyin has already forged a reputation as an adventurous, humorous and outspoken poet (often classified in the feminist mould), having published three volumes of poetry. In April 2014 she was named on the Hay Festival’s Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define trends in African literature. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Image: Wikimedia


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