2018 Africa Reading Challenge

Welcome to the Africa Reading Challenge.

This will be the sixth time that I’m hosting the Africa Reading Challenge.  Details and requirements are the same this year as for the 2012 Africa Reading Challenge, which started with: “I have absolutely no reason for hosting nor urging you to participate in this challenge save for the joy of discovering and reading African literature!” Here are the details:

Challenge Period

January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018


The entire African continent, including its island-states, which are often overlooked. Please refer to this Wikipedia “list of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa”. Pre-colonial empires and regions are also included.

Reading Goal

5 books.  That’s it.  There will be no other levels.  Of course, participants are encouraged to read more than 5 books.  Eligible books include those which are written by African writers, or take place in Africa, or are concerned with Africans and with historical and contemporary African issues. Note that at least 3 books must be written by African writers.


  • Fiction – novels, short stories, poetry, drama, children’s books.  Note: You can choose to read a number of individual and uncollected short stories.  In this case, 12 such stories would constitute one book.  Individual poems do not count but books of poetry do.
  • Non-fiction – memoirs, autobiographies, history and current events.

Reading Suggestions

  • Cover at least two regions, pick from North Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa and Central Africa
  • Include books originally written in African languages
  • Translated fiction from Arabic, Francophone and Lusophone literature
  • You can mix classic and contemporary fiction
  • If you intend to read mostly non-fiction, then please include at least one book  of fiction.

I’m not inclined to push any reading philosophy, I would however like to encourage participants to broaden their knowledge of African literature. For the novice, if you have not read any African lit or if you’ve read one book (E.g. Achebe’s Things Fall Apart):  I would advise a mix of at least two regions, two languages, classic and contemporary, with both men and women writers.

For the advanced reader of African literature:  perhaps there is some gap (country, region, language, theme, gender)  you want to fill or author(s) whose works you want to explore further? You could also, for example:

  • Read only collection/anthologies of short stories
  • Stick to the literary tradition of one country
  • Explore literature written in African languages
  • Read only Lusophone literature
  • Read wherever the urge takes you!

Other Details

  1. Overlap with other challenges is allowed.
  2. E-books and audio books are allowed.
  3. Books read in 2018 prior to this announcement which qualify for this challenge can count towards the 5-book requirement.
  4. There is no need to make a list beforehand.  Although most of us love lists, don’t we?

To Sign up:

Leave a comment below to sign-up. You can list the books you intend to read if you’ve already decided. For those with blogs:  write a post on your blog about the challenge (with or without your list) and link to this post.

Reviews and Completion of Challenge

Reviews of books read are not required but are encouraged, especially for those with blogs. Please link your reviews to this post.  If you do not have a blog and would like to guest review on this blog, then please feel free to contact me.

On Books and Reading Lists

Some classic African literature can be hard to find.  Please check your libraries and use inter-library loans if you have access to such services.  I will publish lists of reading materials under various themes until I tire of the process.  Please contact me at kinnareadsATgmailDOTcom if you need any help.

You can subscribe to this blog (see top of the right sidebar) to stay updated on this challenge. That’s it.  Let’s enjoy reading for the 2018 Africa Reading Challenge.



  1. I know I’m late, but … 🙂

    I have already done this, but I need to up the challenge to cover every region (North Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa and Central Africa), not just North & West which is my habitual reading.


    • OK so my NOT NORTH OR WEST AFRICA reading challenge:

      *Withered Flowers by Stella Gaitano (arabic) South Sudan

      *The Tears of the Black Man, Alain Mabanckou, tr. Dominic Thomas (french), DCR

      *October, Zoe Wicomb (english) S Africa


  2. Very late to the party but I’m in. 5 is good. I live in Nigeria home to Farafina books who graciously churn out books by African Writers at affordable prices. Already I have read this year 1) The Carnivorous City by Toni Kan 2)After Many Days by Jowhor Ile and 3)What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah.

    Up next Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo and The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotosho. These among the huge TBR pile of mostly Nigerian authors that are easy to buy here.

    The Challenge for me would be reading books by African authors not of Nigerian decent. So I’m hoping to purchase a few in this 2nd half of the year and will update.

    Unfortunately laziness refuses to give room for reviews. I can participate in discussions though.

    Enjoy reading everyone and thanks for the challenge Kinna!


  3. LOL I must have been distracted… when I read this I consulted my shelves and set aside a pile of 20+ books from the continent – and started reading them – but forgot to sign up here…
    Anyway, here we are in May and I have read more than five books already, which is a testament to the richness of African writing, eh?
    I’ve read Petals of Blood and The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya); The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (SA); A Dry White Season by Andre Brink (SA); Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo (Madagascar); some of a collection called Africa 39 (stories from south of the Sahara, and I read the ones from countries I’d never read before); Songs of a War Boy by Deng Thiank Adut (NF, a memoir from Southern Sudan); and Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Sali (Sudan).
    You can find any of these reviews by working backwards from https://anzlitlovers.com/category/origin-of-author/african-literature-also-see-middle-east/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So pleased to see this is still going (from strength to strength) as I have been a bit absent from the blogging world the past 2 years.

    I didn’t sign up for this challenge last year & as a result only read three books – sigh. In my defence, I was studying + full time work. I read Songs of Enchantment and Infinite Riches by Ben Okri, to finish the Famished Road Trilogy, and they were awesome in the original sense of the word. I also read Nadine Gordimer’s Get a Life, but not so impressed with that, although I have liked other work by her.

    This year, though, I already have 3 books under my belt so 2 more should be easy-peasy. So far I’ve read:

    Binti – Nnedi Okorafor

    + 2 memoirs:

    Songs of a war boy – Deng Thiak Adut

    Mighty be our powers – Leymah Gbowee.

    They’ve all been excellent reads.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i’m in, i already read Efuru by Flora Nwapa, The girl from abroad by Samuel Kahiga and i’m currently reading Simbi and the satyr of the dark jungle by Amos Tutuola. I plan on reading one book from central Africa and another one from south Africa but i don’t know yet which author i’ll be choosing even if Bessie Head ‘s been on my mind for quite a moment and JJ Bola’s debut is on my tar. I will certainly write a post on my blog later.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Count me in! This will be my first time as well as my first time hearing about this Challenge. This will broaden my reading and that’s super exciting, especially since I had my first trip to Africa & South Africa last year.

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  7. I’m in again, Kinna. Thanks for hosting! I really enjoyed the books I read for last year’s challenge, and I was late starting into that stack last year, so I’m hoping to get this habit to really stick this year.


  8. I’m in, definitely planning to start with half of a yellow sun, I’m also interested in south African and west African fiction, for diversity, I will try a novel titled kintu by a lady I forget from Uganda, I also have another favorite writer called Allan Taca whose novels I haven’t tried but I have religiously been reading his newspaper articles, please make suggestions for any north African fiction for me, I will be glad

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  9. I must make a better showing with this challenge this year. I certainly have acquired a lot more African books over the past year. I am reading Ngugi wa Thiong’o at the moment—a writer I have always meant to read. I am going to India next month for a visit to a publisher and Ngugi is scheduled to be there for a week while I’m there! That should be cool.

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