The Greatest Nigerian "Fiction" Books Since 1980

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    The novel is set in Nigeria during the Biafran War, exploring the impact of the conflict on the lives of its characters. The story is told from the perspective of three characters: a young houseboy, a radical university professor, and the professor's wealthy lover. The narrative delves into themes of love, race, and war, offering a vivid depiction of the horrors of conflict and the resilience of the human spirit.

    The 652nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Famished Road by Ben Okri

    The novel centers around the life of an abiku, a spirit child, who resides in the bustling city of Lagos. Despite numerous attempts to return to the spiritual world, the boy is tethered to the physical realm through the love of his mother. As he navigates through the political unrest and poverty of post-colonial Nigeria, he experiences a series of surreal and mystical encounters, all while wrestling with the pull of the spirit world. The narrative is a blend of reality and the supernatural, providing a unique perspective on the struggles and complexities of human life.

    The 705th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    The novel follows a young Nigerian woman who emigrates to the United States for a university education. While there, she experiences racism and begins blogging about her experiences as an African woman in America. Meanwhile, her high school sweetheart faces his own struggles in England and Nigeria. The story is a powerful exploration of race, immigration, and the complex nature of identity, love, and belonging.

    The 867th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    "Purple Hibiscus" follows the story of a 15-year-old Nigerian girl, Kambili, and her older brother Jaja, who live a privileged life in Enugu. However, their father is a religious fanatic and a domestic tyrant. The siblings are sent to their Aunty Ifeoma's home, a university professor, who provides them a taste of freedom and shows them a different way of life outside their father's oppressive rule. The novel explores themes of colonialism, religious fanaticism, and the post-colonial political situation in Nigeria.

    The 3048th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

    In a world where magic has been suppressed and the maji people have been oppressed, Zélie, a young maji girl, embarks on a dangerous quest to restore magic and bring justice to her people. Alongside her brother and a rogue princess, Zélie must confront her own powers and face formidable enemies, navigating a treacherous landscape of betrayal and sacrifice. As they race against time, Zélie discovers that she may hold the key to not only saving her people, but also to changing the destiny of their entire nation.

    The 3194th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Stillborn by Zaynab Alkali

    "The Stillborn" is a poignant narrative that explores the lives of women in a traditional African society, focusing on their struggles, resilience, and the quest for personal identity. The story delves into the complexities of polygamy, cultural expectations, and the impact of modernity on rural communities. Through the experiences of its female protagonists, the novel highlights the challenges faced by women in their pursuit of education, autonomy, and fulfillment in a male-dominated environment, ultimately offering a critique of the societal norms that stifle their growth and the transformative power of self-awareness and communal support.

    The 4577th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

    This novel is a coming-of-age narrative set in a post-apocalyptic Africa. It follows the journey of a young woman born from a violent act, who is prophesied to bring an end to a brutal regime. As she grows, she discovers her magical abilities and must learn to control them in order to fulfill her destiny. The narrative explores themes of race, gender, and power, while incorporating elements of African mythology and culture.

    The 4868th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Astonishing the Gods by Ben Okri

    "Astonishing the Gods" is a mystical exploration of the intersection of the visible and invisible worlds. The protagonist is an invisible man who embarks on a spiritual journey, seeking knowledge and truth. Along his journey, he encounters various gods and mythical beings, each imparting wisdom and insights. The narrative is a blend of poetry, philosophy, and storytelling that challenges the reader's perception of reality, encouraging them to question the nature of existence and the power of imagination.

    The 4996th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Anthills Of The Savannah by Chinua Achebe

    This novel explores the political turmoil and corruption in a fictional West African country following a military coup. Through the lives of three childhood friends who have risen to positions of power and influence, the narrative delves into themes of leadership, betrayal, and the quest for democracy in a post-colonial African society. As the country teeters on the brink of chaos, the characters' personal and political dilemmas reflect the broader struggles of a nation grappling with its identity and governance. The story is a poignant commentary on power, the complexities of freedom, and the enduring human spirit amidst societal upheaval.

    The 5374th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

    "Binti" is a science fiction novella that follows the journey of a young Himba girl named Binti, who defies her family's wishes and leaves her home to attend the prestigious Oomza University. As the first of her people to be accepted, Binti faces various challenges and cultural clashes as she navigates the complexities of interstellar travel and encounters an alien race known as the Meduse. Through her unique abilities and determination, Binti becomes a bridge between two civilizations, ultimately transforming her own identity and challenging societal norms.

    The 6640th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

    In this darkly comedic novel, a nurse named Korede finds herself repeatedly cleaning up after her sister Ayoola, who has a disturbing habit of killing her boyfriends. As Ayoola's murderous tendencies escalate, Korede is torn between her loyalty to her sister and her growing concern for the next potential victim. As secrets unravel and tensions rise, the sisters' bond is put to the ultimate test, leading to a gripping and unexpected conclusion.

    The 6709th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

    "Say You're One of Them" is a collection of five stories, each set in a different African country, that provides a heart-wrenching look into the lives of children trying to survive in the face of unimaginable hardship. The stories deal with issues such as child trafficking, religious conflict, and poverty, presenting the harsh realities of life in Africa through the innocent eyes of children. The book is a powerful exploration of the resilience and hope of these children in the face of adversity.

    The 8620th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

    The novel unfolds the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a young Nigerian named Vivek Oji. Through a non-linear narrative and multiple perspectives, the story delves into Vivek's complex identity and the struggles with gender, family expectations, and societal norms in a contemporary Igbo community. As the characters grapple with their grief and the secrets Vivek left behind, the novel explores themes of love, acceptance, and the liberating power of embracing one's true self. The poignant tale reveals the transformative impact Vivek had on the lives of those around him, even as they come to terms with the enigmatic nature of his life and untimely death.

    The 9546th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré

    The novel follows the inspiring journey of a young Nigerian girl who yearns for an education and a better life beyond the confines of her small village and the oppressive customs that limit women's opportunities. Despite being trapped in a series of servitudes after being sold into marriage at a young age, she refuses to let her dreams be silenced. With indomitable spirit and determination, she navigates through a myriad of challenges, using her "louding voice"—her bold, resolute inner voice—to speak out for herself and others like her, in pursuit of her ambition to learn and to be heard in a world that often tries to quiet the voices of girls and women.

    The 10232nd Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Rosewater by Tade Thompson

    "Rosewater" by Tade Thompson is a captivating science fiction novel set in a future Nigeria. The story follows Kaaro, a government agent with psychic abilities who works in the town of Rosewater, built around an alien biodome that heals and grants powers to those who enter it. As Kaaro navigates the complex world of telepathy, government conspiracies, and a mysterious alien presence, he becomes entangled in a dangerous plot that could change the fate of humanity. With its rich world-building and thought-provoking exploration of power and identity, "Rosewater" is a thrilling and immersive read.

    The 10730th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.