Books From Nigerian Women Authors To Read To Celebrate Women’s History Month
The month of March is Women’s History Month, which commemorates and highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. Incidentally, the long list of the Women’s Prize for fiction, an annual, prestigious literary award launched in 1996 as a response to the dearth of women in major prizes, includes three authors of Nigerian descent whose books are remarkably distinct and refreshing: Oyinkan Braithwaite (My Sister, the Serial Killer), Diana Evans (Ordinary People), and Akwaeke Emezi (Freshwater).
To celebrate Women’s History Month, here are the diverse books from Nigerian women authors that are diversifying the literary landscape and creating a space for new voices.
Nnedi Okorafor (The Binti series)
The Binti series are science fiction novellas written by Nigerian-American Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor. First published in 2015, Binti is Okorafor’s first story set in space and revolves around Binti, a young African woman who leaves her family to study at a prestigious interstellar university called Oomza Uni. She’s particularly skilled at mathematics, and she’s the first woman in her family to undertake such a journey. The novel is filled with perilous, dangerous situations, and the other instalments: ‘’Binti: Home’’ and ‘’Binti: The Night Masquerade’’ makes for a thrilling, exciting space trilogy.
Oyinkan Braithwaite (My Sister, the Serial Killer)
Satire meets slasher in this short, morbidly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends. Set in Lagos, My Sister, the Serial Killer is a sparkling debut from Braithwaite that mixes crime, a love story and family saga.
Diana Evans (Ordinary People)
Named as The New Yorker’s best books of 2018, Evans’ third novel ‘Ordinary People’ is a domestic tragicomedy that uses celebrity events from Michael Jackson’s overdose to a Jill Scott concert to wallow in the malaise of suburban middle-class life of London couples in London.
Awkaeke Emezi (Freshwater)
Emezi’s inclusion in the Women’s Prize for Fiction long list is significant and powerful because this is the first time a non-binary trans person will be nominated. For their debut novel, Emezi’s uses Igbo cosmology to locates their experience as a trans-African and elevates the conversation about female-only spaces and non-binary identities out an often inward-looking, white, western enclave.
Ayobami Adebayo (Stay With Me)
Shortlisted in the 2017 Women’s for Fiction, Adebayo’s impressive debut explores the toll the intense pressure to have children exacts on one Nigerian couple across two decades. Set in Nigeria with the backdrop of all political and social upheavals, Stay With Me is a thoroughly contemporary and deeply moving portrait of a Nigerian marriage.