Beyond Literary Landscape—Nigerian Literature

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.  So in this weekly column, I, a self-proclaimed bookworm—and, unsurprisingly, an AU ENGL/POLI SCI student—will be underscoring outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads.

From one bookworm to another, this column can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


Those interested in an introduction to the vast genre of Nigerian Literature, a reminder of some genre classics, and as an inspiration for further reading, may choose to begin with three major authors, namely Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Others popular authors in this genre include Wole Soyinka, author of Aké: The Years of Childhood and Chigozie Obioma, author of The Fisherman.


Nigerian Literature can be defined as writings by Nigerian citizens about issues affecting Nigeria, and includes the Nigerian diaspora, such as those in the United States and Britain.  Many of these works are in various languages and represent various ethnicities, including, but not limited to, Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa-Fulani.

Some classics of this genre include Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, and Ben Okri’s Prayer for the Living.

Other novels for further reading include Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Americanah.


As stated from the title, many of these novels are set in Nigeria, although some take place in the United States, as well as Britain.


These novels mainly take place in the 20th and 21st century, including mention of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War from 1967 to 1970.


For readers interested in themes of resilience, community, faith, Nigerian history, Nigerian politics, various traditions, decolonization, the Biafran Civil War, and modern-day Nigeria, Nigerian Literature may serve as an introduction.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Nigerian Literature are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with a counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic are recommended to look into POLI 432: Introduction to Comparative Politics, a three-credit senior-level course, which “studies the political systems of a number of different countries, providing the opportunity to examine the features of individual political systems and to investigate the similarities and differences among political systems in two or more countries,” one of which includes Nigeria.  Happy reading!