7 MUST-READ SHORT STORIES BY AFRICAN WRITERS.

There is no gain saying that all stories are not created equal. I read a couple of short stories by some african writers last year that I enjoyed. So, I am sharing them with you in this post so that you can read them too.

PLUMTREE BY YVETTE LISA NDLOVU

In Plumtree, magical realism meets African jujuism to create an electrifying story where ants squirt out of manhoods and women are married by dead men. Ndlovu insists that these are true stories as she takes us on a ride through Zimbabwean tales exposing havoc patriarchy has unleashed on women with her strong writing voice.

Plumtree is Columbia Journal’s 2020 Womxn’s History Month Fiction Winner. Read it here.

SKINNED BY LESLEY NNEKA ARIMAH

Skinned envisions a society in which young girls are ceremonially ‘uncovered’ and must marry in order to regain the right to be clothed. It tells the story of Ejem, a young woman uncovered at the age of fifteen yet ‘unclaimed’ in adulthood, and her attempts to negotiate a rigidly stratified society following the breakdown of a protective friendship with the married Chidinma. With a wit, prescience, and a wicked imagination, ‘Skinned’ is a bold and unsettling tale of bodily autonomy and womanhood, and the fault lines along which solidarities are formed and broken.

This story won the author the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing and is published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (Issue 53) 2018. Read it here.

MOTHER OF INVENTION BY NNEDI OKOROAFOR

In Mother of Invention Anwuli, a heavily pregnant woman has to give birth in her home in Nigeria amidst an ongoing a pollen tsunami with no one to assist her except her smart home and its robots.

In spectacular speculative fiction style, Okoroafor shows us why she is the queen of African futurism. Read it here.

GOOD BOY BY ELOGHOSA OSUNDE

A story about the daily hustle and bustle on the streets of Lagos and owning one’s sexual identity. What I enjoyed most was the Nigerian banter and the fast-paced writing. Good Boy is published by The Paris Review. Click here to read.

AFTER THE BIRDS BY OPE ADEDEJI

Nothing is as it seems in this brilliant piece. You read this and you think about the world as you know it and wonder how random, the unexpected things we encounter in our daily lives are really. After the Birds is published by McSweeny’s. It was shortlisted for the 2020 US National Magazine Awards and the 2019 Brittle Paper Award for fiction. Read the story here.

24, ALHAJI WILLIAMS STREET BY PEMI AGUDA

In this suspense filled story, a fever that has no name claims the lives of the children of each of the houses on Alhaji Williams Street, one after the other. Everyone is sure that death is coming for the narrator, a 17-year-old boy that lives in house 24. This story draws you in and keeps you guessing, if he will escape this terrible fate in the end.

This story is published by ZOETROPE  ALL-STORY. It was also shortlisted for the 2020 US National Magazine Awards and the 2019 Brittle Paper Award for fiction. Read ithere.

Bye Bye to B’ẹ́lẹ́ja yánTemitope Owolabi

This story follows the love triangle between Mosunmola, her husband and her secret lover – a Nigerian Chief –  that she met on the streets of Paris. I was so caught up in the story that when it finished, I wanted more.

Temitope explores love and grief in the most moving way. Bye Bye to B’ẹ́lẹ́ja yán is published by Lolwe. Read it here.

Happy Reading!

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