Africa Reading Challenge joined

My colleague book blogger, KinnaReads is hosting the Africa Reading Challenge for 2012.  [Please do see her website for more details]

Challenge Period

January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012


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 1 book. Individual poems do not count but books of poetry do.

Non-fiction – memoirs, autobiographies, history and current events

My tentative reading list

  • Chicago, by Alaa al Aswany – North Africa/Egypt
  • Tales from different tails, by Nana Awere Damoah – West Africa/Ghana
  • An elegy for Easterly, by Petina Gappah – Central Africa/Zimbabwe – short stories
  • Broken glass, by Alain Mabanckou – Central Africa/Congo – in translation from French
  • The cry of Winnie Mandela, by Njabulo Ndebele – South Africa
  • Half-blood blues, by Esi Edugyan – this is African/Ghanaian by descent

I am fairly sure that I will actually end up reading more than these, as in 2011 I read 19 books by Africans/about Africa.  And as I write, I am currently reading 10 years of the Caine prize for African writing (for Accra Book Club), Zoo story by Lauren Beukes and You’re not a country Africa, by Pius Adesanmi (a collection of essays)

Thanks a lot to Kinna for taking this initiative.  Now to get reading, and writing about it


11 thoughts on “Africa Reading Challenge joined

      • For my personal list: I bought three of the books – Chicago, An elegy for Easterly and Half-blood blues – externally (not in a Ghanaian bookshop). But the remaining three – Tails from different tales, Broken glass and The cry of Winnie Mandela – I bought from Accra bookshops. The whole point about this Africa Reading Challenge is to chose books which you like, are interested in, and which you can obtain – either by buying them, or borrowing them from a library, or from a friend or relative. For instance, many of the books in the African Writers Series are sold in bookshops here in Ghana, and they are not expensive either – less than GH¢5.00. All the best.

    • OK, my definition of Africa has included African by descent! I too am looking forward to reading Edugyan’s book, and if I feel inspired, her first book, The second life of Samuel Tyne.

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