Into Africa

Uwem Akpan

This singular collection of five stories takes the reader inside Nigeria, Benin, and Ethiopia, revealing in beautiful prose the harsh consequences for children of life in Africa.

V.S. Naipaul
"...V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man—an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions."
Richard Dowden

In captivating prose, Dowden spins tales of cults and commerce in Senegal and traditional spirituality in Sierra Leone; analyzes the impact of oil and the Internet on Nigeria and aid on Sudan; and examines what has gone so badly wrong in Rwanda and the Congo.

Paul Rusesabagina with Tom Zoellner

The riveting life story of Rusesabagina--the man whose heroism inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda"--is sure to become a classic of tolerance literature. "An Ordinary Man" explores what the film could not: the inner life of the man who became one of the most prominent public faces of that terrible conflict.

Isla Morley
Abbe Deighton is a woman who has lost her bearings. Once a child of the African plains, she is now settled in Hawaii, married to a minister, and waging her battles in a hallway of monotony. There is the leaky roof, the chafing expectations of her husband's congregation, and the constant demands of motherhood. But in an instant, beginning with the skid of tires, Abbe's battlefield is transformed when her three-year-old daughter is killed, triggering in Abbe a seismic grief that will cut a swath through the landscape of her life and her identity.
Alan Paton
"...a beautifully told and profoundly compassionate story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s. The book is written with such keen empathy and understanding that to read it is to share fully in the gravity of the characters' situations."
Alexandra Fuller

Fuller's memoir of a childhood dominated by the Rhodesian civil war of 1971-1979 captures the fascinating life of a white family living in one of the most remote regions of Africa.

Barbara Chase-Riboud

"From the bestselling author of Sally Hemings comes an extraordinary new novel based on the true story of Sarah Baartman, a South African herdswoman exhibited as a “scientific curiosity” in the capitals of nineteenth-century Europe. Barbara Chase-Riboud’s previous historical novels won her critical praise and established her as a writer who daringly transforms the hidden truths of the past into compelling fiction. InHottentot Venus, Chase-Riboud recounts the tragic life of Sarah Baartman, re-creating in vivid, shocking detail the racism and sexism at the heart of European imperialism. Born in the colony of Good Hope, South Africa, in 1789, Sarah Baartman was taken to London at the age of twenty by an English surgeon, who promised her fame and fortune. Dubbed the “Hottentot Venus,” she was paraded naked in Piccadilly in a freak-show exhibition and subjected to the unabashed stares and crude comments of the British public, which resulted in a sensational trial for her custody by British abolitionists."

Amin Maalouf; translated by Peter Sluglett
Born in Spain just before the Moors were expelled from that country, Hassan al-Wazzan grew up in North African and became a world traveller, diplomat, author and geographer. Using the real life of al-Wazzan as a starting point, this historical novel examines the intersections and conflicts between the Christian and Arab worlds in the 16th century.
Nelson Mandela

An international hero, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and leader of South Africa's antiapartheid movement chronicles his life, including his tribal years, his time spent in prison, and his return to lead his people.

Dorothy Gilman
In her new adventure, part-time C.I.A. agent Mrs. Pollifax accompanies her young friend Kadi Hopkirk to the African country of Ubangiba, where Kadi's childhood friend, Sammat, is soon to be crowned king. This impromptu journey is a response to an S.O.S. from Sammat to Kadi; and Mrs. P., reluctant to allow the girl to venture alone into what she fears may be grave danger, crashes the party. Sunny little Ubangiba is no great shakes as nations go. Under Sammat's selfless leadership it is recovering from the devastation wrought by two greedy presidents-for-life who preceded him in office. But Sammat has dangerous enemies. Everywhere rumors are springing up that he is a sorcerer and that his evil power is responsible for a rash of shocking murders in which the victims appear to have been clawed to death by a lion. These crimes are especially terrifying because there are no lions in Ubangiba."
Isak Dinesen
"In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors--lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes--and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful."
Margaret McCord

The Calling of Katie Makanya is an award-winning look at the inspiring life of an exceptional woman. One of six children, Katie grew up watching British Redcoats drilling and hearing stories of the Zulu king Cetshwayo's fierce attempts to drive the white men into the sea. While still quite young, she showed a natural talent for the rhythm and melody of the languages around her, "all so similar yet each as different as the notes of a song." Katie became fluent in English, Dutch, Xhosa, and Sotho. Before she was twenty, her youthful inquisitiveness and talent took her, and her sister Charlotte, to England as members of the Jubilee Singers. Yet, despite promises of wealth and fame as a performer, the already determined young woman vowed to return home, to marry, and to raise a family.

Lucinda Roy
"...the story of two half-sisters who are separated in childhood and raised continents apart. Joan, the white sister, grows up in North Carolina, while Ursuline, the African sister, is adopted by nuns in West Africa. Joan's quest to find Ursuline following their mother's death sets off a whirlwind of events in Africa as the sisters join forces with Gordon Delacroix, Joan's former lover, and Jeremy Scott, a troubled English writer. The days they spend together in the violence and bloodshed of a disintegrating nation change all four of them forever. Eventually Joan and Ursuline escape to America, where they are forced to reevaluate what is meant by love, faith, and racial identity."
Alexander McCall Smith

This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to help people with problems in their lives. Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

Andrew Miller
Clem Glass was a successful photojournalist, firm in the belief that photographs could capture truth and beauty. Until he went to Africa and witnessed the aftermath of a genocidal massacre.
Clem returns to London with his faith in human nature shattered and his life derailed. Nothing--work, love, sex--can rouse his interest and no other outlook can restore his faith. The one person Clem is able to connect with is his sister, who has made her own sudden retreat from reality into the shadows of mental illness, and he finds some peace nursing her back to health in rural Somerset. Then news arrives that offers him the chance to confront the source of his nightmares.
Vanessa Del Fabbro

South African journalist Monica Brunetti had it all -- promising career, loving family, marriage-minded boyfriend. Then, a life-changing encounter with evil landed her in a hospital bed next to a gregarious, charismatic Ella Nkhoma, whose wit and caring challenged Monica's worldview. Their remarkable friendship would lead Monica far from the gated white suburbs, and toward a parting that left both women transformed . . . and Monica the mother of two sons.

Anthony Capella

When Robert Wallis, an impoverished poet in turn-of-the-century London, accepts a commission from eccentric coffee merchant Samuel Pinker to categorize the elusive tastes of coffee, little does he know his assignment will completely alter his life.

Chinua Achebe

The author was born in Nigeria in 1930. He was raised in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centers of Anglican missionary work in Eastern Nigeria, and is a graduate of University College, Ibadan. Cited in the London Sunday Times as one of the "1,000 Makers of the Twentieth Century" for defining "a modern African literature that was truly African" and thereby making "a major contribution to world literature."

Athol Fugard
Set amid the sprawling Johannesburg township of Soweto, where survival is the primary objective, Tsotsi traces six days in the life of a ruthless young gang leader. When we meet Tsotsi, he is a man without a name (tsotsi is Afrikaans for "hoodlum") who has repressed his past and now exists only to stage and execute vicious crimes. When he inadvertently kidnaps a baby, Tsotsi is confronted with memories of his own painful childhood, and this angry young man begins to rediscover his own humanity, dignity, and capacity to love. A novel from the playwright who authored, "Master Harold and the Boys."
Mark Seal

After twenty years of spectacular, unparalleled wildlife filmmaking together, Joan and Alan Root divorced and a fascinating woman found her own voice. Renowned journalist Mark Seal offers this breathtaking, culturally relevant portrait of a strong woman discovering herself and fighting for her beliefs before her mysterious and brutal murder. With a cast of characters as wild, wondrous, and unpredictable as Africa itself, Wildflower is a real-life adventure tale set in the world’s fast-disappearing wilderness. Rife with personal revelation, intrigue, corruption, and murder, readers will remember Joan Root’s extraordinary journey long after they turn the last page of this utterly compelling book.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong ; a translation from Gĩkũyũ by the author
"From the exiled Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and literary critic--a magisterial comic novel that is certain to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African literature. In exile now for more than twenty years, Ngugl wa Thiong’o has become one of the most widely read African writers of our time, the power and scope of his work garnering him international attention and praise.

"His aim in Wizard of the Crow is, in his own words,nothing less than 'to sum up Africa of the twentieth century in the context of two thousand years of world history.' Commencing in 'our times' and set in the 'Free Republic of Aburlria,' the novel dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburlrian people. Among the contenders: His High Mighty Excellency; the eponymous Wizard, an avatar of folklore and wisdom; the corrupt Christian Ministry; and the nefarious Global Bank."