2015 was an amazing year for African novels and 2016 is promising to be even better. With varied voices and amazing storylines, below are the novels we are most looking forward to reading in 2016.
The book of Memory, by Petina Gappah
Petina Gappah’s newest novel is set in a maximum-security prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, where Memory, an albino woman convicted of murder, begins to tell her story. Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between the past and the present, Gappah weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate, and the treachery of memory.
Release date: February 2, 2016
Blackass by Igoni Barret
Igoni’s Blackass published by Farafina Books is centred on the story of a young man in Lagos, Nigeria who wakes up on the morning of his job interview to discover that he has turned into a white man. There are too many testaments to the brilliance of this book but none says it more than the fact that the book is one of a kind in its difference. Asides the fact that it is ridiculously funny, it is quite daring in the forms which the writer chose to explore. Though this is only Igoni’s first novel having published a collection of short stories titled Love Is Power or Something Like That, we can hope to see more fantastic works from this writer. His narrative is so engaging and provocative. He has been dubbed the new Kafka because if the style with which he has chosen to engage.
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Born On A Tuesday by Elnathan John
Born on a Tuesday tells the tale of Dantala, a young boy who lives in Bayan Layi and studies at a Sufi school, far away from home. In the bloody aftermath of the election he runs away and begins living in a mosque. The novel explores brotherhood, religious fundamentalism and loss against one of the most turbulent periods in contemporary Northern Nigeria. Born On A Tuesday was one of the most anticipated novels of 2015 and its publication got an unprecedented amount of appreciation from lovers of African literature all over Nigeria and indeed the world over. Elnathan John was twice nominated for the Caine Prize for African Writing and is a critically acclaimed writer whose prose is lined with incredulous satire and a believable imagery that ensures that the reader is engaged from and sucked into the book with such power that you would hardly want to drop the book till the end.
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Season of the Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
When multiple awards winning short story writer, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim decided to lace his boots on the novelist tent, one could be certain that it was going to be a revelation and truly his Season of the Crimson Blossoms has not disappointed. The novel tells the story of an affair between Binta Zubairu, a 52 year-old widow and a 26 year-old weed dealer, Reza which was bound to provoke condemnation in a conservative Northern Nigeria. The story is about love and longing—set against the undercurrents of political violence—unfurls gently, revealing layers of emotion that defy age, class and religion.
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The premise of the novel is the following: two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle’s women’s dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to twentieth-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi’s novel moves through histories as well as geographies, and promises to be a dazzling debut.
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Behold the Dreamers by Mbolo Imbue
The Wall Street journal dubbed Mbolo Imbue’s debut novel Behold the Dreamers, as Africa’s most anticipated novel of 2016. Set for an August release date Imbue’s novel tells the story Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem with his wife and son. In the fall of 2007, he lands a job as chauffeur for a senior executive at Lehman Brothers and the adventures begin from there. As their lives begins to change and unravel, Jende and Neni his wife are forced to make impossible choices.
Release Date: August 23, 2016