#LoveInLiteraryAfrica: A Reading List

The New York Times published  “A Valentine’s Day Reading List” which included a quiz, but omits any character or book from the African literary tradition. These lists usually include a token mention of Achebe or Adichie, for which we are meant to be eternally grateful. I suppose the drafters of the NYT quiz  couldn’t recall any romance in books by these two writers. (How can they? Since even Achebe gets mentioned way more than he is actually read.😒)

In response, the scholar Grace A. Musila started #LoveInLiteraryAfrica on Twitter. It turned into a fantastic conversation and a celebration lasting many days covering books, short stories, non-fiction, scholars and music.

Bookshy has Storifyed quite a lot of the conversation under:

#LoveinLiteraryAfrica: A Valentine’s Day Reading List.

Lots of books are mentioned so do check out the Storify. Add some to your reading list. (Time and energy permitting, I may make a list of all the books mentioned).

With many thanks to Grace Musila and all those who contributed to the conversation. Feel free to add to the convo on #LoveInLiteraryAfrica.

For those celebrating: Happy Valentine’s Day

A good reading day for all!




  1. Long ago I came to realize that few people that I know read what I read. Of course, it is even worse for my high school students. I can already hear them moaning and groaning but this week half of them are going to start reading “Things Fall Apart” and the others “Obasan” by the Canadian Japanese writer. We did not have enough of either book so I divided them up. When I had everyone read “Things Fall Apart” several years ago, I felt truly vindicated when it showed up on the PSAT the following year. I love your blog posts. Keep it up.


  2. The NYT used to be a constant disappointment, but I have stopped taking any notice of it. Perhaps there has been generational change at the helm and its editors are even more insular than they always were. Though omitting a whole continent (or three) is indicative, it’s not just Africa that they ignore: they have no idea about The Rest of the World in general, and a couple of token classics from Europe to give their list a bit of gravitas doesn’t alter that.
    Yes, it’s only a pop quiz…and one to celebrate a commercial festival at that. But it’s emblematic IMO.
    My suggestion to add to the list is Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda, a tender, funny story of two people who have suffered much, finding love in old age.
    A useful thing to do is to create a reading list at Goodreads. There are people of good will who would like to read more widely but often don’t know where to start. Would you like me to start a list for African Love Stories, which others could then add to?


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