This is a: ‘If you liked this, you might like this’, like Netflix for African fiction beginners.
If you liked Anne of Green Gables or the Enid Blyton books, you might enjoy… Nervous Conditions. Want to read a story about a school-girl and her adventures in moving from a rural school to a school in the city?Nervous Conditions (set in Zimbabwe) by Tsitsi Dangarembga will scratch that itch.
If you like historical fiction like The Book Thief, you might like… Half of a Yellow Sun. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a beautiful fiction account of a family during the Biafran civil war in Nigeria in 1967.
If you like romantic fiction, you might like… Maru by Bessie Head. Maru is filled with forbidden love, but also looks at sexism, tribalism, and racism in a remote village in Botswana.
If you like YA fantasy like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children you might enjoy… The Hidden Star by K. Sello Duiker. Set in South Africa, this fantasy story follows a group of children on their quest to find a magical rock and conquer the bad guys.
If you like magical realism like One Hundred Years of Solitude, you’ll love… The Theory of Flight, by Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu. Set in Southern Africa, A beginner’s guide to African fiction this book is filled with magical elements like golden children being born from eggs in Sunflower fields, flying people, and most importantly, friendships.
If you like science fiction novels like The War of the Worlds, you’ll enjoy… Lagoon, by Nnedi Okorafor. Set in modern-day Lagos, Nigeria, with aliens coming to land in the sea, Lagoon is filled with strange aliens and even stranger humans and animals.
If you like reading queer fiction, from Will Grayson, Will Grayson to The Colour Purple, you should read… Freshwater. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi is a coming of age novel about sexuality, spirituality, and family, set in Nigeria and America.
Something for everyone:
If you prefer reading short stories, there’s a rich history of short story writing in South Africa.
For more general short stories, you might like Hotel Africa: New Short Fiction from Africa, edited by Helen Moffett or Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree, by Niq Mhlongo.
For something a little more crime-like, you might enjoy Jozi Noir, edited by Niq Mhlongo.
For queer short stories, you can check out Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction edited by Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba.