Top 7 Nigerian Authors And Their Bestselling Books

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Nigeria, often called the “Giant of Africa,” boasts a rich literary tradition spanning decades. From Chinua Achebe to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writers have influenced international literature greatly by engaging readers with their perceptive stories, colourful characters, and gripping storytelling. In this post at Naijassador, we will look at seven well-known Nigerian writers and their best-selling works that have had a lasting impact on the literary world.

1. Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe is widely recognized as the founding father of African literature, and his impact extends well beyond Nigeria. His ground-breaking book “Things Fall Apart,” first published in 1958, has sold millions of copies worldwide and been translated into many languages. This story, which takes place in pre-colonial Nigeria, tells the story of a brave Igbo warrior named Okonkwo. Among the topics it looks at are cultural collision, colonialism, and the effects of change on traditional societies.

2. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of Nigeria’s most celebrated contemporary writers, known for her powerful prose and incisive social commentary. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Half of a Yellow Sun” received positive criticism and was awarded the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. The narrative follows the lives of three characters as they deal with love, loss, and political unrest during the Nigerian Civil War. Adichie’s powerful depiction of the human cost of fighting struck a chord with readers worldwide, solidifying her standing as a significant literary figure.

3. Wole Soyinka

The Nigerian author, Wole Soyinka, was given the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature. His drama “Death and the King’s Horseman” is studied in institutions worldwide and is regarded as a modern classic. Set in colonial Nigeria, the play explores themes of ritual, tradition, and the clash between indigenous beliefs and Western values. Soyinka’s lyrical language and intricate characterizations make “Death and the King’s Horseman” a compelling read that continues to captivate audiences.

4. Chigozie Obioma

Chigozie Obioma burst onto the literary scene with his debut novel “The Fishermen,” which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. Set in 1990s Nigeria, the story follows four brothers who encounter a local madman prophesying that the eldest will be killed by one of his siblings. As tensions rise within the family, Obioma masterfully weaves a tale of brotherhood, fate, and the consequences of unchecked ambition. “The Fishermen” showcases Obioma’s prodigious talent and heralds him as one of Nigeria’s most promising young voices.

5. Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta was a trailblazing Nigerian author whose novels explored themes of gender, identity, and the immigrant experience. Her novel “The Joys of Motherhood” is widely regarded as a classic of African literature. Initially published in 1979, the novel tells the story of Nnu Ego, a Nigerian woman who struggles to balance her traditional role as a mother with her desire for personal fulfilment. Emecheta’s vivid prose and unflinching portrayal of the challenges faced by women in patriarchal societies make “The Joys of Motherhood” a timeless and resonant work.

6. Ben Okri

Ben Okri is an acclaimed Nigerian poet and novelist characterized by magical realism and lyrical language. His novel “The Famished Road” won the Booker Prize in 1991 and catapulted him to international fame. Set in an unnamed African city, the story follows Azaro, a spirit child torn between the world of the living and the realm of the spirits. Through Azaro’s eyes, Okri explores themes of poverty, spirituality, and the enduring power of the human spirit. “The Famished Road” is a tour de force that showcases Okri’s visionary imagination and narrative prowess.

7. Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is a Nigerian author whose debut novel “I Do Not Come to You by Chance” received widespread acclaim upon its release in 2009. The book offers a satirical take on Nigeria’s notorious email scam industry following the misadventures of Kingsley, a young man drawn into the world of internet fraud in a bid to support his struggling family. Nwaubani’s sharp wit and keen insight into Nigerian society shine through in this engaging and thought-provoking novel, which sheds light on the moral complexities of survival in a society plagued by corruption and inequality.

Conclusion 

Nigerian literature is rich and diverse, with authors like Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Wole Soyinka leading the charge. From classic works that have stood the test of time to contemporary novels that tackle pressing social issues, Nigerian authors continue to captivate readers with their unique voices and compelling stories. As the literary landscape evolves, one thing remains certain: Nigerian literature will continue to inspire and provoke readers for generations.

Written by Adefala Mayowa

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