Books

Top 5 state-of-the-nation books, chosen by Ayòbámi Adébáyò

The award-winning Nigerian author selects five books that examine nationhood, identity, and the long reaches of colonialism

Globe map of the world

Image: SmallmanA from Pixabay

Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta

I’ve often returned to this novel. At its heart is Enitan, who is born in 1960, the same year Nigeria gains independence. As her life unfolds into adulthood, Atta paints an intimate and compelling portrait of post-civil war Nigeria.

I Am Still With You by Emmanuel Iduma

Iduma’s uncle is one of many who remains unaccounted for at the end of the Nigerian civil war. This book is both a poignant memoir about his attempt to discover what became of his uncle and a timely reckoning with the legacy of Biafra, a nation that continues to exist in the imaginations of many, decades after it was defeated. 

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Makumbi’s remarkable debut novel is a multigenerational epic that spans centuries. It examines the trajectory of a nation through the fortunes of one lineage. It has been justly lauded as a great Ugandan novel.

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Middlemarch by George Eliot

An enduring classic that ploughs the soul of its characters and through this reveals England at a moment of great social change. 

Ambiguous Adventure by Cheikh Hamidou Kane

Through protagonist Samba Diallo, Kane considers the dilemmas of a nation in the wake of colonialism.

A Spell of Good Things cover

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ is a curator for LoveMyRead’s bespoke book subscription service. Her novel, A Spell of Good Things, is available here.

You can buy some of the titles featured from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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