100 books like Incidents at the Shrine

By Ben Okri,

Here are 100 books that Incidents at the Shrine fans have personally recommended if you like Incidents at the Shrine. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Kabu Kabu

Wole Talabi Author Of Incomplete Solutions

From my list on collections of African speculative fiction stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Novels are great. I’ve written one myself. I have also written many short stories for major science fiction and fantasy publishing venues—Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog, Lightspeed, etc. But there is something special about single-author short story collections. They are like tasting platters. They reveal running themes and can be a unique way to explore places—through the imaginations of its authors. For example, many of my stories are set in or feature characters from Nigeria. I hope you enjoy the books on this list and that they show you something new about Africa and what (some) African authors dream about. 

Wole's book list on collections of African speculative fiction stories

Wole Talabi Why did Wole love this book?

Kabu Kabu takes its name from Nigerian slang for a dodgy taxi that gets you where you need to go, one way or the other. It’s a fitting name for this short story collection, which took me on a journey of twenty-one stories that include excellent science fiction, fantasy, horror, and excerpts from her wildly popular and award-winning novels. Drawing from her own Naijamerican heritage and using a skillful balance of characters, plot, setting, and themes, Okorafor offers an array of stories based on dual identities, folklore, philosophy, and contemporary issues filtered through a speculative lens.  

By Nnedi Okorafor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kabu Kabu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Kabu kabu-unregistered illegal Nigerian taxis-generally get you where you need to go. Nnedi Okorafor's Kabu Kabu, however, takes the reader to exciting, fantastic, magical, occasionally dangerous, and always imaginative locations you didn't know you needed. This debut short story collection by an award-winning author includes notable previously published material, a new novella co-written with New York Times-bestselling author Alan Dean Foster, six additional original stories, and a brief foreword by Whoopi Goldberg.


Book cover of A Killing in the Sun

Wole Talabi Author Of Incomplete Solutions

From my list on collections of African speculative fiction stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Novels are great. I’ve written one myself. I have also written many short stories for major science fiction and fantasy publishing venues—Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog, Lightspeed, etc. But there is something special about single-author short story collections. They are like tasting platters. They reveal running themes and can be a unique way to explore places—through the imaginations of its authors. For example, many of my stories are set in or feature characters from Nigeria. I hope you enjoy the books on this list and that they show you something new about Africa and what (some) African authors dream about. 

Wole's book list on collections of African speculative fiction stories

Wole Talabi Why did Wole love this book?

This collection by one of Uganda’s premier speculative fiction writer/directors features strange, wonderful worlds and deeply fascinating characters with compelling stories uncompromisingly but accessibly rooted in African perspectives and mythologies and I’ve recommended it often. Sometimes leaning literary, other times heavily genre, Dilman has a gift for layering the fantastic on top of the real. The bizarre over the mundane. The prose is direct and clear, and the descriptions are lush. Every story here makes great use of East African culture, mythology, folklore, politics, and everyday life to tell great stories which anyone can enjoy.

By Dilman Dila,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Killing in the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

‘A Killing in the Sun’ is a collection of speculative fiction from Africa. It draws from the rich oral culture of the author’s childhood, to tell a wide variety of stories. Some of the stories are set in a futuristic Africa, where technology has transformed everyday life and a dark force rules. Others are set in the present day, with refugee aliens from outer space, ghosts haunting brides and grooms, evil scientists stalking villages, and greedy corporations creating apocalypses. There are murder mysteries, tales of reincarnation and of the walking dead, and alternative worlds whose themes any reader will identify…


Book cover of Slipping: Stories, Essays & Other Writing

Wole Talabi Author Of Incomplete Solutions

From my list on collections of African speculative fiction stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Novels are great. I’ve written one myself. I have also written many short stories for major science fiction and fantasy publishing venues—Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog, Lightspeed, etc. But there is something special about single-author short story collections. They are like tasting platters. They reveal running themes and can be a unique way to explore places—through the imaginations of its authors. For example, many of my stories are set in or feature characters from Nigeria. I hope you enjoy the books on this list and that they show you something new about Africa and what (some) African authors dream about. 

Wole's book list on collections of African speculative fiction stories

Wole Talabi Why did Wole love this book?

Beukes has range and a keen eye, two things that are showcased perfectly in this collection. Experimenting in style, in genre, in tone, in point of view, in everything really. A lot of the stories are overtly speculative, but not all of them are, even though they have a speculative sensibility. Some stories are under 100 words, others closer to 10,000. As someone who enjoys experimental writing, I loved this book. Almost every story features the recurring theme of dehumanization, and they are largely set in South Africa or featuring South African characters. And if that wasn’t enough, there are even 5 nonfiction pieces from her time as a journalist. It's excellent reading. 

By Lauren Beukes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Slipping as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Punk Lolita fighter-pilot rescues Tokyo from a marauding art installation. Corporate recruits harvest poisonous plants on an inhospitable planet. An inquisitive adolescent ghost disrupts the life of a young architect. Product loyalty is addictive when the brand appears under one's skin.

Award-winning Cape Town author and journalist Lauren Beukes (Zoo City, Moxyland, Broken Monsters) spares no targets in this edgy and satiric retrospective collection. In her fiction and nonfiction, ranging from Johannesburg across the galaxy, Beukes is a fierce, captivating presence throughout the literary landscape.


Book cover of Intruders: Short stories

Wole Talabi Author Of Incomplete Solutions

From my list on collections of African speculative fiction stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Novels are great. I’ve written one myself. I have also written many short stories for major science fiction and fantasy publishing venues—Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog, Lightspeed, etc. But there is something special about single-author short story collections. They are like tasting platters. They reveal running themes and can be a unique way to explore places—through the imaginations of its authors. For example, many of my stories are set in or feature characters from Nigeria. I hope you enjoy the books on this list and that they show you something new about Africa and what (some) African authors dream about. 

Wole's book list on collections of African speculative fiction stories

Wole Talabi Why did Wole love this book?

This is a short but excellent collection of short stories that focus more on voice, concept, character, and theme than traditional plots, especially when compared to some of the other collections I have recommended but wow, does it deliver on its strengths. I like this book for its colorful and layered writing used to describe new and inventive spins on township folklore galore, tortured friendships and families, unique community bonds, and South Africans in space. These stories linger in the mind and there aren’t a lot of better ways to jump into some of South Africa’s weirdest waters than this. 

By Mohale Mashigo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intruders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Orphan sisters chase monsters of urban legend in Bloemfontein. At a busy taxi rank, a woman kills a man with her shoe. A genomicist is accused of playing God when she creates a fatherless child. Intruders is a collection that explores how it feels not to belong. These are stories of unremarkable people thrust into extraordinary situations by events beyond their control. With a unique and memorable touch, Mohale Mashigo explores the everyday ills we live with and wrestle constantly, all the while allowing hidden energies to emerge and play out their unforeseen consequences. Intruders is speculative fiction at its…


Book cover of Half of a Yellow Sun

Sarah Hart Author Of Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature

From my list on mathematician characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a mathematician and incurable book-lover. It’s been one of the joys of my life to explore the links between mathematics and literature. The stories we tell ourselves about mathematics and mathematicians are fascinating, and especially the ways in which mathematicians are portrayed in fiction. I’m the first female Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, a role created in 1597. I don’t fit the mathematician stereotype of the dishevelled old man, obsessed only with numbers (well, perhaps I am slightly dishevelled), so I particularly relish books featuring mathematicians who bring more to the party than this. I hope you’ll enjoy my recommended books as much as I did!  

Sarah's book list on mathematician characters

Sarah Hart Why did Sarah love this book?

In Odenigbo, the Professor of Statistics at Nsukka University who is a main character in Adichie’s powerful novel, she gives us a mathematician who is both brilliant and flawed, both good and bad.

He is a mass of contradictions, as we all are: a fully-rounded person. Adichie’s parents were caught up in the Biafran-Nigerian civil war – the subject of this book – and her father James Nwoye Adichie was a real-life Nsukka statistician.

There’s a tell-tale gap in his research output: between 1967 and 1974 he published no papers. Call me sentimental, but when Adichie gives to Odenigbo’s lost research articles titles that might fit with her father’s work, I like to think that it’s a tribute to the work he also did not have the chance to complete.

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Half of a Yellow Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE BAILEYS PRIZE BEST OF THE BEST

Winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007, this is a heartbreaking, exquisitely written literary masterpiece

This highly anticipated novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set in Nigeria during the 1960s, at the time of a vicious civil war in which a million people died and thousands were massacred in cold blood.

The three main characters in the novel are swept up in the violence during these turbulent years. One is a young boy from a poor village who is employed at a university lecturer's house. The other is a…


Book cover of Under the Udala Trees

Carla Trujillo Author Of What Night Brings

From my list on queer teenage love by and about people of color.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote my first novel in a quest to create a story about a girl who loves girls surviving a violent, repressive world. Reading novels pertinent to the life I’ve lived was both affirming and life-saving. After graduate school, I developed a class at UC Berkeley where I focused on novels written by and about women of color, knowing compelling stories gave the students a chance to live in someone else’s universe. I still believe books can change hearts and minds, and reading them propels me to continue seeking well-told stories by authors—particularly writers of color—who have the courage to put their words on the page. 

Carla's book list on queer teenage love by and about people of color

Carla Trujillo Why did Carla love this book?

This compelling and beautifully written story begins in 1968 during the Biafran civil war in Nigeria, creating a unique setting of hardship, hunger, and death afflicting the people living in the area. Ijeoma, the 11-year-old protagonist, is sent away after a life-changing event and lives in a squalid hut when a young girl from another tribe comes to stay. Despite the difficulties surrounding them, the girls fall in love and the intensity of their desire continues as they grow. I enjoyed how Okparanta writes of the naturalness of this first love and how they cared for each other. Though the girls are separated, they reunite, but face religious repression from their community, which uses the Bible against them. The girls move on with their lives and Ijeoma finds another love, but this too, suffers from cultural and religious constraints. According to Okparanta (who lives in NY), Nigeria is a very…

By Chinelo Okparanta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Udala Trees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Okparanta is major new voice not only because of her mesmerizing storytelling, but for her bravery and originality. She is a truth teller and soothsayer... Under the Udala Trees is breathtaking, rich with history and heart" - Tayari Jones

One day in 1968, at the height of the Biafran civil war, Ijeoma's father is killed and her world is transformed forever. Separated from her grief-stricken mother, she meets another young lost girl, Amina, and the two become inseparable. Theirs is a relationship that will shake the foundations of Ijeoma's faith, test her resolve and flood her heart.

In this masterful…


Book cover of The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka

Odafe Atogun Author Of Taduno's Song

From my list on political resistance.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a teenager in the 80s, I witnessed the evils of dictatorship up to the 90s. And it was at that time that I became fascinated with the late iconic Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, who used his music as a weapon against tyranny. I read books such as The Man Died by Wole Soyinka, Animal Farm by George Orwell and Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, and my love for protest literature was formed. Growing up, Fela Kuti’s philosophy shaped me and I found myself identifying with the downtrodden. And then I began to explore universal themes such as love, courage, and sacrifice through my writing.    

Odafe's book list on political resistance

Odafe Atogun Why did Odafe love this book?

I think this book is very important because Soyinka shows that the right of the people to protest cannot be restricted by walls or chains. That the oppressor is totally helpless against the will of the people, as also shown in Taduno’s Song by the protagonist Taduno and Kongi, a character modelled on Soyinka. Imprisoned without trial by the authorities at the start of the Nigerian civil war, Wole Soyinka’s prison notes provide records of the twenty 27 months he spent in solitary confinement, the very basis of the words that would cement his place as a prisoner of conscience and give rise to a body of work that would illuminate the world.

By Wole Soyinka,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man Died as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

. Shipped from the U.K. All orders received before 3pm sent that weekday.


Book cover of The Lagos Wife

Angela Henry Author Of The Perfect Affair

From my list on thrillers about missing black women & girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a mystery/thriller author fascinated by how and why people, especially black women, go missing. I’ve probably watched every episode of Unsolved Mysteries, Dateline, and Forensic Files. For me, the questions are always the same. What led up to their disappearance? And more importantly, who were these women? What’s their backstory? So often, the lives of the missing get lost in the circumstances and details surrounding their disappearances. These five books show how the media ignores missing marginalized women. I hope that these excellent thrillers give readers some much-needed food for thought.

Angela's book list on thrillers about missing black women & girls

Angela Henry Why did Angela love this book?

I love thrillers set in foreign locations that give me a glimpse into other cultures, along with a big dose of mystery and intrigue. This book delivers on all fronts.

I could not put this book down. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, I loved the dual points of view of Nicole, the missing British wife of a wealthy Nigerian businessman, and her estranged aunt Claudine, who arrives from London to look for her. The sense of dread, helplessness, and desperation both women experience throughout the book is palpable and devastating, making both characters relatable and well-developed. 

This book deftly explores the complications that arise when women, especially black women, go missing in foreign countries.

By Vanessa Walters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lagos Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I was hooked right through to the shocking end' BERNARDINE EVARISTO

'An excellent read' GUARDIAN

'Beautifully written, immersive, thought-provoking' MARIAN KEYES

'Obsessed' KERRY WASHINGTON

'A shimmering success' DIANA EVANS

THE PERFECT WIFE. THE PERFECT MURDER.

Nicole Oruwari has the perfect life: a handsome husband, a palatial house in the heart of Lagos and a glamorous group of friends. She left London and a troubled family past behind to become part of a community of expat wives.

But when Nicole disappears without a trace after a boat trip, the cracks in her so-called perfect life start to show. As the investigation…


Book cover of Looking For Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria

Marilyn Kriete Author Of Paradise Road: A Memoir

From my list on memoirs to take you on wild adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a serial memoirist (two published, two more to come), and a true fan of well-written memoir. I read all kinds, but my favorites often combine coming-of-age with unusual travel or life choices. I love getting inside the authors’ heads, discovering not just what they did, but why, and how they felt about it later, and what came next. Great memoirs take us out of our own lives and into settings, situations, and perspectives we may never experience. What better way to understand how other people live and move and think and feel? Fiction is fine, but a unique true story hooks me from start to finish. 

Marilyn's book list on memoirs to take you on wild adventures

Marilyn Kriete Why did Marilyn love this book?

I lived in Lagos for four years in the early ‘90s and have struggled ever since to describe the strange energy and appeal of this troubled, oft-maligned country.

Noo, a British-raised Nigerian, takes us to 12 Nigerian locations in a quest to understand her roots. Her childhood memories of visits to the homeland weren’t great, and she’s highly attuned to the widespread corruption that afflicts almost every aspect of Nigerian life.

Still, she travels with an open mind, asking questions, seeking mini-adventures, and falling in love-and-exasperation with the loud, outspoken, resilient residents of Africa’s most-populated country.

Her lively account, packed with nuggets of history, culture, and one-of-a-kind encounters and conversations, brought me back to a country that stole my heart when I least expected it.  Such a treat!

By Noo Saro-Wiwa,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Looking For Transwonderland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Olu and Greta

Suzanne Preston Blier Author Of The Streets of Newtowne: A Story of Cambridge, MA

From my list on the idea of streets, history, and places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an art and architectural historian whose field also includes the histories of cities. My area of specialty is Africa. I am also a professor at Harvard who has lived in Cambridge, Ma. for over 30 years where I have become a civic leader, co-founding the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association to help bring improvements to the city and preserve historic buildings here. I teach a class on Harvard Square (and the city of Cambridge) and following January 6, I felt it was important to rethink the way we teach young people – encouraging them to understand the diversity of all our communities. 

Suzanne's book list on the idea of streets, history, and places

Suzanne Preston Blier Why did Suzanne love this book?

This delightful new addition to children’s literature addresses two young cousins, both living in large cities on different continents one (Olu) in Lagos, Nigeria, and the other (Greta) in Milan Italy – share complementary experiences and differences in their diverse settings – in their lived lives and while they are playing.

The bold, colorful, and wonderfully engaging illustrations that convey the different characters and settings are a key part of the pleasure of reading this book.

By Diana Ejaita, Diana Ejaita (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Olu and Greta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

The geographical and cultural distance between two cousins is counteracted by the universalities of childhood and the dream of uniting.

Olu lives in Lagos, Nigeria; his cousin, Greta, lives in Milan, Italy. Though their lives may be different, their ways of living and playing are quite similar. They both roller skate; they both skip down the street; they both play with toy trains, trucks, and boats... and they both dream of meeting and being together. Debut author-illustrator Diana Ejaita references her own childhood and heritage to create a rich, poignant, and authentic portrayal of Nigeria, of Italy, and of the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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