As the scramble for Covid vaccine continues, (gosh, I hope people are rushing to get a dose) there are many things to look forward to in the coming months. Perhaps we can actually achieve a semblance of normalcy as we re-claim our social lives, yes? Haa. But as a personal favorite are all the amazing books to pine over. That’s right, the literature coming out from Nigerian writers this year is, like they say, pure fire! I am getting my coins ready for mindless purchases and binge reading. You should too. Here are some of the titles to anticipate.
NewYork, My Village by Uwem Akpan
Very few of us will forget Uwem Akpan’s Rwandan based story: My Parent’s Bedroom. And much more, how we’ve eagerly waited for more work by this incredibly understated writer with a haunting literary voice. Well, this year of all years, the wait is over as he launches his first novel, New York, My Village come this November.
The Baby Is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Remember her first novel, My sister the Serial Killer? Oyinkan is back with another book. The Baby is Mine is only 128 pages, it’s a very fast read that you’ll surely enjoy. The book will be out on May 27
Synopsis: When his girlfriend throws him out during the pandemic, Bambi has to go to his Uncle’s house in lock-down Lagos. He arrives during a blackout, and is surprised to find his Aunty Bidemi sitting in a candlelit room with another woman. They both claim to be the mother of the baby boy, fast asleep in his crib. Who is lying and who is telling the truth? (Atlantic Books, May 27)
Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
Suyi’s first book, David Mogo Godhunter won the 2020 Nommo Awards for Best Speculative Fiction. (If you haven’t read it, you are sleeping on a bicycle. Anyway, his new book, Son of the Storm will be out on May 11.
Synopsis: In the thriving city of Bassa, Danso is a clever but disillusioned scholar who longs for a life beyond the rigid family and political obligations expected of the city’s elite. A way out presents itself when Lilong, a skin-changing warrior, shows up wounded in his barn. Danso and Lilong set out on a journey that reveals histories violently suppressed and magic only found in lore.
Vagabonds by Eloghosa Osunde
Osunde recently debuted a column on Paris review. We’ve been following Osunde’s essays like children eager to play ever since she wrote that Catapult essay about how dance saved her. #Whew. Osunde’s debut novel, Vagabonds will be out in this year. It’s one of the most anticipated book from a Nigerian author. Her publisher described the books as “a tumultuous and unexpectedly joyous novel of oppression and defiance among the people and spirits of Lagos.”
Sankofa Chibundu Onuzo
Her first two books, Spider King’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos are some of the best Nigerian novels published in recent years. Her third, Sankofa will be out in June 2021.
Sankofa tells the story of a mixed-race British woman who goes in search of the West African father she never knew, will be available upon release in the UK, the US, and Nigeria.
“In middle age, after separating from her husband and losing her mother, Anna finds her father’s student diaries, chronicling his involvement in radical politics in 1970s London. She discovers that he eventually became the president – some would say the dictator – of the West African country of Bamana. And he is still alive. Anna decides to track him down and her journey will lead her to a new understanding of both her past and her potential future, as well as an exploration of race, identity and what we pass on to our children.”
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
We all know Nnedi! She’s one of the most decorated Nigerian writers. She’s won so many awards for her previous works. Her new book, Remote Control, was published in January this year.
Synopsis: In the shea tree farms of Wulugu, not the big city of Accra. In Remote Control, there are jelli-tellis, tvs made of gelatin that could be stretched and stuck to walls. Prayer Shacks, large walk-in containers with oriental rugs on their floors that block out all wireless networks so that one can truly be alone to pray. Traffic robots controlling intersections that are well-maintained and loved by its villagers. Mobile phones called “windows” that are thin as a card of glass. It’s a familiar world that’s a few steps into the future. And it is African. Ghanaian, to be very specific.
This novella puts us right on the road, walking with a Ghanaian girl who quickly understands her entitlement. You can look around, smell the palm trees and dust, and like Guillermo del Toro’s cinematic masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth, Remote Control dances above the lines between young adult and adult without a care.