5 Anticipated Books by African Authors, April 2024


All of the five books featured in our “Five Anticipated Books for April, 2024” are by female authors. We begin with Crooked Seeds by Karen Jennings. Jennings debut novel Finding Soutbek (2012) was shortlisted for the then Etisalat Prize for Literature, 2013. Her other book An Island (2020) was shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize; so you can expect to enjoy this read. Another author we are featuring is Aiwanose Odafen, who previously published a gripping tale that reminds one of Buchi Emecheta books. That book was Tomorrow I Become a Woman (2022). It kind of left many people “vexed.” Her new book though, We Were Once Girls, is the story of three young women shaped by society.

Again, we have Chioma Okereke, previously known for Bitter Leaf (2010), and returning with Water Baby, a coming-of-age story about Baby —yes, the main character is named baby— who must prove to herself, and others that her future lies beyond the confines of their small world. A Kind of Madness by Uche Okonkwo is a kind of madness, literally, and it is featured too. With a collection of ten stories, Uche explores the different textures of relationships between “mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, best friends, siblings, and more.” We conclude with An African History of Africa: From the Dawn of Civilization to Independence by Zainab Badawi, a renowned Sudanese-British broadcaster and author. She travelled through more than 30 countries gathering evidence and facts for an African story by an African.

Let us know your thoughts on any of the books below.

A Kind of Madness
Uche Okonkwo

(Tin House Books)
Expected Release Date: April 16. 2024

Set in contemporary Nigeria, Uche Okonkwo’s A Kind of Madness is a collection of ten stories concerned with literal madness but also those private feelings that, when left unspoken, can feel like a type of desire, desperation, hunger, fear, sadness, shame, longing. In these stories, a young woman and her mother bask in the envy of their neighbors when the woman receives an offer of marriage from the family of a doctor living in Belgium―though when the offer fails to materialize, that envy threatens to turn vicious, pitting them both against their village. A teenage girl from a poor family is dazzled by her rich, vivacious friend, but as the friend’s behavior grows unstable and dangerous, she must decide whether to cover for her or risk telling the truth to get her the help she needs. And a lonely daughter finds herself wandering a village in eastern Nigeria in an ill-fated quest, struggling to come to terms with her mother’s mental illness. In vivid, evocative prose, A Kind of Madness unravels the tensions between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, best friends, siblings, and more, marking the arrival of an extraordinary new talent in fiction and inviting us all to consider the why is it that the people and places we hold closest are so often the ones that drive us to madness?

Water Baby
Chioma Okereke

Expected Release Date: April 11 2024

She’s the Pearl of Makoko and the world is her oyster. In Makoko, the floating slum off mainland Lagos, Nigeria, nineteen-year-old Baby yearns for an existence where she can escape the future her father has planned for her. With opportunities scarce, Baby jumps at the chance to join a newly launched drone-mapping project, aimed at broadening the visibility of her community. Then a video of her at work goes viral and Baby finds herself with options she could never have imagined – including the possibility of leaving her birthplace to represent Makoko on the world stage. But will life beyond the lagoon be everything she’s dreamed of? Or has everything she wants been in front of her all along?

Crooked Seeds
Karen Jennings

(Random House/Masobe)
Expected Release Date: April 16, 2024

In her parched, crumbling corner of a Cape Town public housing complex, Deidre van Deventer receives a call from the South African police department. Her family home, recently reclaimed by the government, has become the scene of a criminal investigation. The remains of several bodies have just been unearthed from their land, after decades underground. Detectives pepper her with Was your brother a member of a pro-apartheid group in the 1990s? Is it true that he was building bombs as part of a terrorist plot?
Deirdre doesn’t know the answers to most of these questions. All she knows is that she was denied—repeatedly—the life she felt she overshadowed by her brother, then abandoned by her daughter, Deidre has been left to watch over her aging mother, making do with government help and the fading generosity of her neighbors. But as alarming evidence from the investigation continues to surface, and detectives pressure her to share what she knows of her family’s disturbing past, Deidre must finally confront her own shattered memories so that something better might emerge from what remains.

We Were Girls Once
Aiwanose Odafen

(Simon and Schuster)
Expected Release Date: April 25, 2024

Ego, Zina and Eriife were always destined to be best friends, ever since their grandmothers sat next to each other on a dusty bus to Lagos in the late 1940s, forging a bond that would last generations. But over half a century later, Nigeria is a new and modern country. As the three young women navigate the incessant strikes and political turmoil that surrounds them, their connection is shattered by a terrible assault. In the aftermath, nothing will remain the same as life takes them down separate paths.
For Ego, now a high-powered London lawyer, success can’t mask her loneliness and feelings of being an outsider. Desperate to feel connected to Nigeria, she escapes into a secret life online. Zina’s ambition is to be anyone but herself; acting proves the ultimate catharsis, but it comes at the cost of her family. And Eriife surprises everyone by morphing from a practising doctor to a ruthless politician’s perfect wife.
When Ego returns home, the three women’s lives become entwined once more, as Nigeria’s political landscape fractures. Their shared past will always connect them, but can they – and their country – overcome it?

An African History of Africa: From the Dawn of Civilisation to Independence
Zeinab Badawi

Expected Release Date: April 18, 2024

For too long, Africa’s history has been dominated by western narratives of slavery and colonialism, or simply ignored. Now, Zeinab Badawi sets the record straight.
In this fascinating book, Badawi guides us through Africa’s spectacular history – from the very origins of our species, through ancient civilisations and medieval empires with remarkable queens and kings, to the miseries of conquest and the elation of independence. Visiting more than thirty African countries to interview countless historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and local storytellers, she unearths buried histories from across the continent and gives Africa its rightful place in our global story.
The result is a gripping new account of Africa: an epic, sweeping history of the oldest inhabited continent on the planet, told through the voices of Africans themselves.

Lake Adedamola is a poet, writer, and editor with Nantygreens, who's worked with several other literary blogs including Brittle Paper. He has, since 2018, served in various capacities on the Lagos International Poetry Festival, LIPFest, team.

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