The most recommended Ghana books

Who picked these books? Meet our 30 experts.

30 authors created a book list connected to Ghana, and here are their favorite Ghana books.
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What type of Ghana book?



By Hannah Bourne-Taylor,

Book cover of Fledgling

Tessa Boase Author Of Etta Lemon: The Woman Who Saved the Birds

From the list on women, birds, and nature.

Who am I?

I’m an investigative journalist and social historian who’s obsessed with ‘invisible’ women of the 19th and early 20th century, bringing their stories to life in highly readable narrative non-fiction. I love the detective work involved in resurrecting ordinary women’s lives: shop girls, milliners, campaigning housewives, servants. . . The stories I’ve uncovered are gripping, often shocking and frequently poignant – but also celebrate women’s determination, solidarity and capacity for reinvention. Each of my two books took me on a long research journey deep into the archives: The Housekeeper’s Tale – the Women Who Really Ran the English Country House, and Etta Lemon – The Woman Who Saved the Birds.

Tessa's book list on women, birds, and nature

Why did Tessa love this book?

Here’s how an intense, almost obsessive focus on wildlife can bring solace from chaos and alienation. Young bird-lover Hannah Bourne-Taylor moves to Ghana as a ‘trailing spouse,’ and it’s the fauna that keeps her going as she struggles to rebuild her identity. Two stray dogs leap into her life; a pangolin needs saving from someone’s dinner table. But it’s the act of saving a swift and a mannikin finch, nurturing and releasing the birds back into the wild, that provides the key to this closely observed, touching story. At first, the finch doesn’t want to re-wild – and Hannah realizes with a shock that she’s humanized it. Explores interesting dilemmas about intervening on nature’s behalf, and whether one act of compassion can really make a difference. A book full of hope.

By Hannah Bourne-Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Read the powerful account of one woman's fight to reshape her identity through connection with nature when all normality has fallen away.

When lifelong bird-lover Hannah Bourne-Taylor moved with her husband to Ghana seven years ago she couldn't have anticipated how her life would be forever changed by her unexpected encounters with nature and the subsequent bonds she formed.

Plucked from the comfort and predictability of her life before, Hannah struggled to establish herself in her new environment, striving to belong in the rural grasslands far away from home.

In this challenging situation, she was forced to turn inwards and…

Ghana Must Go

By Taiye Selasi,

Book cover of Ghana Must Go

Eliza Robertson Author Of I Got a Name: The Murder of Krystal Senyk

From Eliza's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Language lover Citizen detective Astrologer Cat enthusiast Podcaster

Eliza's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Eliza love this book?

I first encountered Selasi’s writing in a short story she published in Granta over a decade ago. Her prose is entrancing. Thick with mood, ambiance, danger, and beauty.

For some reason, it’s taken me years to track down her novel, Ghana Must Go, but it did not disappoint. Following the story of a Ghanaian/Nigerian family who emigrated to America, this book was full of empathy and intrigue. As a reader—I couldn’t put it down. As a writer—I admired Selasi’s deft handling of structure and multiple points of view. A moving and impressive read. 

By Taiye Selasi,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ghana Must Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "buoyant" and "rapturous" debut novel (The Wall Street Journal) about the transformative power of unconditional love

Electric, exhilarating, and beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go introduces the world to Taiye Selasi, a novelist of extraordinary talent. In a sweeping narrative that takes readers from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, it is at once a portrait of a modern family and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are.

A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death…

Small Worlds

By Caleb Azumah Nelson,

Book cover of Small Worlds

Jendella Benson Author Of Hope and Glory

From the list on introducing you to Black London.

Who am I?

Much of the Britain that's exported to the world is fed by the monochromatic myth of nobility and royalty, but the heart of Britain is multifaceted and multicultural. I didn’t grow up in London, but grew up visiting family here and ‘The Big Smoke’ had an allure for me. The people were all different colours and ethnicities and it truly felt like the most exciting place in the world. I moved here the week I turned 18, and I haven’t left. It's a harsh, expensive city, and it's much too busy to provide anyone with any lasting sanity, but here I found a version of Black Britain that I was missing in my hometown.

Jendella's book list on introducing you to Black London

Why did Jendella love this book?

This is a gorgeous book to be savoured slowly.

It is suffused with music throughout (and the nerd within me loves the reoccurring literary motifs and phrases that definitely lend a musical quality to the book) and took me back to lazy summer days as a teenager when I first moved to London and the city felt wide open with excitement and possibility.

This is another love story, but one about community, family and the first loves that we learn from our parents.

By Caleb Azumah Nelson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An exhilarating and expansive new novel about fathers and sons, faith and friendship from National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and Costa First Novel Award winning author Caleb Azumah Nelson

One of the most acclaimed and internationally bestselling “unforgettable” (New York Times) debuts of the 2021, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s London-set love story Open Water took the US by storm and introduced the world to a salient and insightful new voice in fiction. Now, with his second novel Small Worlds, the prodigious Azumah Nelson brings another set of enduring characters to brilliant life in his signature rhythmic, melodic prose.


The Dilemma of a Ghost

By Christina Ama Ata. Aidoo,

Book cover of The Dilemma of a Ghost

Portia Owusu Author Of Spectres from the Past: Slavery and the Politics of "History" in West African and African-American Literature

From the list on the African experience of slavery and its afterlives.

Who am I?

I am a scholar of African and African American literature with interests in the cultures, histories, and philosophies of Africa and the diaspora. Currently, I teach and research at Texas A&M University. The history of the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies are huge components of my current research; it is also the topic of my doctoral research which I completed in 2017 at The School of Oriental African Studies (SOAS), The University of London. 

Portia's book list on the African experience of slavery and its afterlives

Why did Portia love this book?

The 1960s and 70s were periods of Black Consciousness, both in Africa and the diaspora. At the heart of this was Pan-Africanism, a political ideology built on historical and cultural links between Black people everywhere. At the heart of these ideas was a psychical and physical “return” to Africa, the “motherland”. This short, but powerful play, explore these politics in the marriage of Ato Yawson and Eulalie Rush, a Ghanaian man and an African-American woman who emigrate from the US to Ghana in search of racial and cultural harmony. What occurs is a dramatization of what happens when political ideologies are applied to private lives. What I love about this text is its confrontation of slavery as traumas that cannot be easily erased by political rhetoric and national endeavors to “move on.”

By Christina Ama Ata. Aidoo,

Why should I read it?

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


By Michael Cunningham, George Alexander,

Book cover of Queens: Portraits of Black Women and their Fabulous Hair

St. Clair Detrick-Jules Author Of My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Natural Hair Stories from the Sisterhood

From the list on celebrating Black hair.

Who am I?

I’m an Afro-Caribbean-American filmmaker, photographer, author, and activist from Washington, DC. After graduating from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Francophone Studies, I began pursuing a completely different career path: social activism through art and storytelling. I capture personal stories and intimate moments centering on Black liberation, immigrant justice, and women’s rights. My work is grounded in radical love, joy, and the knowledge that a more just world is possible. My award-winning documentary DACAmented has been internationally recognized, and my book My Beautiful Black Hair has been featured in The Washington Post, Buzzfeed News, and NPR’s Strange Fruit, among others.

St.'s book list on celebrating Black hair

Why did St. love this book?

The narratives in this book from women in the United States, London, and Ghana--accompanied by gorgeous portraits--capture a slice of the Black hair diaspora and the place where it all started: West Africa. The title says it all and yet can’t begin to capture the gorgeous array of women, hairstyles, and lived experiences captured by Cunningham and Alexander.

By Michael Cunningham, George Alexander,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Crowns photographer Michael Cunningham and author and journalist George Alexander have captured the marvelous trinity of black women, hair, and beauty salons in the glorious Queens: Portraits of Black Women and Their Fabulous Hair.

Angela Garner says that “The beauty salon is the one great thing we get to share as African American women. It’s therapeutic.” Tisch Sims says that wearing fantasy hair makes her feel “like a goddess, a queen.”

From the afro to the ponytail to dreadlocks to braids to relaxed hair to fantasy hair; from “good hair” to bad hair days, in this stunningly designed book black…

Lose Your Mother

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Book cover of Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

Susan K. Harris Author Of Mark Twain, the World, and Me: Following the Equator, Then and Now

From the list on blending memoir, travel, and history.

Who am I?

I’ve always enjoyed books that introduce me to faraway places, cultural narratives, and the writers behind the stories. After retiring from college teaching, I decided to write one myself. I’m a Mark Twain scholar, so I followed Twain’s lecture tour through Australasia, India, and South Africa. One of my goals was to expose my research methods to my readers, and writing in the first person made that easy. What I hadn’t foreseen was how much the process would force me to confront my own past—exposing the radical differences between Mark Twain and Me. 

Susan's book list on blending memoir, travel, and history

Why did Susan love this book?

Lose Your Mother is the story of Hartman’s investigation into the African side of the slave trade, an effort to understand the past as prelude to the present. Heading to Ghana, from which thousands of captive Africans were shipped into slavery in the Americas, Hartman spends a year immersing herself in Ghanian life and culture, or at least as much of it as she can access as an American. What she learns is as much about herself as about history, and what we learn is about how people construe local histories in order to understand their own place in the world.

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Lose Your Mother, Saidiya Hartman journeys along a slave route in Ghana, following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast. She retraces the history of the Atlantic slave trade from the fifteenth to the twentieth century and reckons with the blank slate of her own genealogy.

There were no survivors of Hartman's lineage, nor far-flung relatives in Ghana of whom she had come in search. She traveled to Ghana in search of strangers. The most universal definition of the slave is a stranger—torn from kin and country. To lose your mother is to suffer the…


By Nadia Owusu,

Book cover of Aftershocks: A Memoir

Susan Lewallen Author Of Distorted Vision

From the list on postcolonial Africa through the eyes of foreigners.

Who am I?

I’ve lived and worked intensely in the medical field for over two decades in many countries in Africa. I’ve seen global health programs from the academic, research, developmental, and humanitarian viewpoints of both Africans and Europeans. It’s a complicated mix of politics, good intentions, and, sometimes, egos. There’s much to be learned from both fiction and nonfiction about the complexity of it all. 

Susan's book list on postcolonial Africa through the eyes of foreigners

Why did Susan love this book?

Nadia Owusu is the quintessential third culture kid, holder of a US passport, but born in Dar-es-Salaam to a Ghanaian father and an Armenian-American mother. Her UN-employed father moved his two daughters around through Kumasi (Ghana), Kampala (Uganda), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Rome (Italy), and the UK. Her mother left the family when Nadia was three years old and didn’t look back, save for a rare, short visit and some trinket gifts. Aftershocks is Ms. Owusu’s tribute to a loving father, but her upbringing was a shaky foundation that reverberated throughout her life, and provided the earthquake metaphor around which she structures her memoir. She weaves bits of political history and culture from the countries she lived in into her own story, comprised of the foreshocks, main shock, and aftershocks. It’s held together by beautiful prose descriptions, both of place and emotions.

By Nadia Owusu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, this “gorgeous” (The New York Times, Editors’ Choice) and deeply felt memoir from Whiting Award winner Nadia Owusu tells the “incredible story” (Malala Yousafzai) about the push and pull of belonging, the seismic emotional toll of family secrets, and the heart it takes to pull through.

“In Aftershocks, Nadia Owusu tells the incredible story of her young life. How does a girl—abandoned by her mother at age two and orphaned at thirteen when her beloved father dies—find her place in the world? This memoir is the story of Nadia creating her own solid…

Love in Color

By Bolu Babalola,

Book cover of Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold

Kimberly J. Lau Author Of Erotic Infidelities: Love and Enchantment in Angela Carter's the Bloody Chamber

From the list on fairy tale adaptations with verve and edge.

Who am I?

Long before I became a “fairy tale scholar,” I was keenly aware of the ways that fairy tales saturate our cultural landscape. Given their ubiquity, who isn’t? But my awareness was always a discomfiting one, an unnerving at the fairy tale’s insistent cheeriness; it was this unnerving that made me fall deeply in love with The Bloody Chamber, the collection that so beautifully flays the fairy tale to reveal its dark and sordid heart. In researching The Bloody Chamber, I saw ever more clearly that the fairy tale’s grim underbelly involves not only twisted ideas about gender and desire and love but also about race, and this discovery has motivated my research over the past decade.

Kimberly's book list on fairy tale adaptations with verve and edge

Why did Kimberly love this book?

Bolu Babalola’s Love in Color is, technically, more a collection of reimagined myths than a collection of retold fairy tales, but the stories are so richly and wonderfully rendered, so smart and edgy and beguiling, that it seems silly to privilege a strict genre definition over a powerful collection. Babalola is shameless in her embrace of love—indeed, she confesses that she loves love—and yet her contemporary takes on global myths trouble any easy ideas about love the reader might bring to the collection. Love, here, is messy, tangled, frightening, and—according to Babalola—worth the tribulations it inspires.

By Bolu Babalola,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


"Love stories by and about marginalized women . . . The heroines are strong and sure . . . Babalola’s writing shines.” — New York Times Book Review

"Absolutely intoxicating." — Casey McQuiston, New York Times bestselling author of Red, White, and Royal Blue and One Last Stop

A vibrant debut collection of love stories from the bestselling author of Honey and Spice, retelling myths, folktales, and histories from around the world.

A high-born Nigerian goddess, who has been beaten down and unappreciated by her gregarious lover, longs to be truly seen. A young businesswoman attempts a great…

The Book of Phoenix

By Nnedi Okorafor,

Book cover of The Book of Phoenix

Greg Siofer Author Of The Question: Do Some Things Just Happen?

From the list on getting mysterious powers.

Who am I?

Each book has its own story to tell, so there is not one particular book I love. Reading books that aren't my usual reads is something I enjoy doing. You may enjoy the following books, which I have listed. It made me think differently than I usually do, and as with most books I read, it will enhance your writing. Throughout my childhood, I always enjoyed reading to escape reality and get lost in a world of fantasy. As a result, I began writing science fiction that resembles me that is getting away.

Greg's book list on getting mysterious powers

Why did Greg love this book?

We meet Phoenix, a woman grown in New York's Tower 7.

Even though she's only two years old, she has the mind and body of an adult, along with superhuman abilities. The death of her lover under dubious circumstances proves that Tower 7 is less of a home and more of a prison for Phoenix. She escapes to Ghana, where she learns brutal truths about colonialism and vows to fight back. Phoenix's fight for justice is electrifying.

By Nnedi Okorafor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell....

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor's powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York's Tower 7. She is an "accelerated woman"-only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix's abilities far exceed those of…

Found My People

By Richard Kweku Ezeagu Akinyemi,

Book cover of Found My People: How Connecting To My Ancestral Roots Enriched My Life and Can Do The Same For You

Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell Author Of Live Life on Fire: The Guide to the Ultimate Successful Life Full of Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment

From the list on answering the question "What am I living for?".

Who am I?

I have had the pleasure of exploring many career paths and businesses as an attorney, CPA, minister, life coach, media company CEO, publisher, international motivational speaker, and author. Yet it was not until illness from stage 4 endometriosis almost took me out that I realized that life happiness and success were not synonymous. I took the time to 1) figure out the difference and 2) create a pathway to joy. Joy is the step beyond happiness, and it ensures life satisfaction and longevity. And this is the answer to my question – and the topic – what am I living for? I am living for joy, peace, and fulfillment.

Lynita's book list on answering the question "What am I living for?"

Why did Lynita love this book?

Walking with the author on his journey from successful African American businessman in Montgomery, Alabama to empowered and enriched Nigerian and Ghana American now living in Accra, Ghana brings the echoes of Dr. King's "dream" to life in the halls of our hearts: we realize that to walk equally with others first requires that we know ourselves, proclaiming proudly who we are and whose we are. Found My People gives us the tools, encouragement, and benefits to do so.

This book will challenge your concept of heritage, delight you with the serendipities of destiny, and inspire you to find your people! I was inspired to extend my DNA search and dig deeper into my heritage because of it.

By Richard Kweku Ezeagu Akinyemi,

Why should I read it?

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

Emmanuel's Dream

By Laurie Ann Thompson, Sean Qualls (illustrator),

Book cover of Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Anne Broyles Author Of Priscilla and the Hollyhocks

From the list on real-life children who overcame hardships.

Who am I?

Ever since I read Island of the Blue Dolphins in 5th grade I’ve loved historical fiction. I am inspired by amazing humans who lived across centuries and around the globe and left their mark on the world. My 2023 book I’m Gonna Paint: Ralph Fasanella, Artist of the People is about a social activist artist. Future published books include middle grade novels on the 1838 Trail of Tears, a day on Ellis Island in 1907, and a 1935 book about Eleanor Roosevelt and the planned community of Arthurdale, WV. Like I said, I love exploring history! I read in many genres, but still enjoy learning about history through fiction.

Anne's book list on real-life children who overcame hardships

Why did Anne love this book?

I’ve had an easy life in so many ways, so I appreciate learning from people whose childhood adversities shaped them to make positive changes in the world. When Emmanuel was born in Ghana with a deformed leg, his future looked bleak. Some considered him “cursed.” His mother encouraged him to dream big and become independent. He refused to be defined by his disability and ended up showing “that being disabled does not mean being unable.” To bring attention to the difficulties disabled people face Emmanuel organized and completed a 400-mile bike ride across Ghana. 

I love this book because Emmanuel’s mother believed he was more than his disability, and the way Emmanuel proved this to be true prompted the Ghanaian Parliament to pass the Persons with Disability Act. 

By Laurie Ann Thompson, Sean Qualls (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Emmanuel's Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah's inspiring true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel's Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey—is nothing short of remarkable.

Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today,…

Survivors of Slavery

By Laura T. Murphy,

Book cover of Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives

Seth Mallios Author Of Born a Slave, Died a Pioneer: Nathan Harrison and the Historical Archaeology of Legend

From the list on confronting slavery and how it impacts society today.

Who am I?

As an archaeologist, anthropologist, and historian who has worked on both the East Coast (Flowerdew Hundred and Jamestown, Virginia) and West Coast (San Diego, California) of the U.S. and dug sites from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, I am passionate about how archaeology can serve to offer new insights for marginalized peoples in American history. I specialize in exposing how narrow thinking, revisionism, and myth-making warp local histories and turn them into fabrications of the present. 

Seth's book list on confronting slavery and how it impacts society today

Why did Seth love this book?

Laura Murphy uses nearly forty survivor narratives from around the world to demonstrate that slavery is not a heinous phenomenon of the past, but of the present as well. Her work is essential to students of American history; it ensures that slavery is never presented as merely a crime of the past or only as a despicable practice isolated to one geographic region.

By Laura T. Murphy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Slavery is not a crime confined to the far reaches of history. It is an injustice that continues to entrap twenty-seven million people across the globe. Laura Murphy offers close to forty survivor narratives from Cambodia, Ghana, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United States, detailing the horrors of a system that forces people to work without pay and against their will, under the threat of violence, with little or no means of escape. Representing a variety of circumstances in diverse contexts, these survivors are the Frederick Douglasses, Sojourner Truths, and Olaudah Equianos of our time, testifying to…

The Sound of the Sea

By Cynthia Barnett,

Book cover of The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans

Sandy Sheehy Author Of Imperiled Reef: The Fascinating, Fragile Life of a Caribbean Wonder

From the list on the amazing world of coral reefs.

Who am I?

For more than four decades, Sandy Sheehy has been diving tropical coral reefs from the Caribbean to Australia. Starting when she was around five sitting in her pediatric dentist’s office where she noticed an aquarium stocked with colorful fish, her fascination with the underwater world has grown. Becoming a freelance journalist allowed her to call on experts and activists around the world to help her satisfy her curiosity and share what she learned.   

Sandy's book list on the amazing world of coral reefs

Why did Sandy love this book?

In clear, evocative prose, Barnett describes the world of seashells and humans’ relationship to them. Her book was laced with “Who knew?” moments for me. For example, until recently people considered seashells a kind of rock, giving little thought to the creatures that built and inhabited them. Barnett explains the threat that rising carbon dioxide levels present to the formation and very existence of shells, but she never carps; and although she interjects some of her own experiences—and sense of wonder—she never lapses into making this book about her, rather than her subject.

By Cynthia Barnett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sound of the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seashells have been the most coveted and collected of nature's creations for thousands of years. They were money before coins, jewellery before gems, art before canvas.

In The Sound of the Sea, Cynthia Barnett blends cultural history and environmental science to trace our long love affair with seashells and the hidden lives of the mollusks that make them. From the mysterious glow of giant clams to the surprising origin of Shell Oil as a family business importing exotic shells, the book is filled with unforgettable stories. As it explores the perfect symmetry of a Chambered Nautilus, the pink-glossed lip of…

They Come at Knight

By Yasmin Angoe,

Book cover of They Come at Knight

Debra H. Goldstein Author Of One Taste Too Many

From Debra's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Judge Mother Daughter Reader

Debra's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Debra love this book?

They Come at Knight is the second book in Yasmin Angloe’s Nena Knight trilogy. It continues the story of an intrepid assassin who will stop at nothing to protect her family. 

Having enjoyed the first book in the series, I was particularly interested in how the story built and expanded the character of Nena. The sequel is well-paced. There is both a new tale to engage the reader and the character development of the protagonist goes well beyond the first book.

By Yasmin Angoe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They Come at Knight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Yasmin Angoe's They Come at Knight is the heart-pounding second installment in the Nena Knight series about an intrepid female assassin who will stop at nothing to protect her family.

For elite assassin Nena Knight, eliminating dangerous players on the world stage is part of the job. The Tribe, a powerful business syndicate in Africa, ensures that she has those opportunities. But for Nena, the Tribe is more than just her employer; it's an organization that supports the African people-until it turns on itself.

As Nena embarks on a new mission, a violent siege by a paramilitary group throws the…

Pigeon English

By Stephen Kelman,

Book cover of Pigeon English

Gail Aldwin Author Of This Much Huxley Knows: A Story of Innocence, Misunderstandings, and Acceptance

From the list on contemporary adult novels with young narrators.

Who am I?

Novelist, poet and scriptwriter. My interest in young narrators stems from a desire to effectively capture the voices of children in my novels. Creative writing PhD studies with the University of South Wales encouraged me to research different strategies and techniques used by published authors and to experiment with them in my writing. The String Games my debut novel was the result of this academic and creative journey. Further novels continue to include young voices in a starring role as I get inside the heads of a range of characters. After a stint as a university lecturer, I dabbled in fiction for children and through a collaboration with illustrator Fiona Zechmeister, Pandemonium a children’s picture book was published in 2020.

Gail's book list on contemporary adult novels with young narrators

Why did Gail love this book?

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and currently an AQA English Literature GCSE text, Pigeon English is a debut novel that captures the experiences of eleven-year-old Harrison Opuku. A new arrival from Ghana, he lives with his mother and sister amongst the gang culture on a south London housing estate. Harri is an appealing narrator who uses a mixture of West African slang and a rapidly acquired local vernacular. The text is enlivened by dialogue presented in the form of a playscript with illustrations and lists promoting the visual quality of the story.

By Stephen Kelman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a block of flats on a London housing estate. The (second) best runner in the whole of Year 7, Harri races through his new life in his personalised trainers - the Adidas stripes drawn on in marker pen - unaware of the danger growing around him. But when a boy is knifed to death on the high street and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own. In doing so, he unwittingly…

Book cover of What Napoleon Could Not Do

Margot Livesey Author Of The Road from Belhaven

From Margot's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Secret orphan Professor Scottish Novelist

Margot's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Margot love this book?

Reading is often the best kind of travel – all the adventure, none of the aggravation – and I love how Nurro’s fluent, intelligent writing takes me from Ghana to America and back again. 

His characters, especially the siblings Belinda and Jacob, are like people in real life, complex and infuriating. 

He has one of the most memorable children in recent fiction. In the best way, I never knew what was going to happen next, and I always wanted to find out.  

By DK Nnuro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Napoleon Could Not Do as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the Books Barack Obama Is Reading This Summer
One of Vulture’s Best Books of 2023
One of Goodreads’ Buzziest Debut Novels of 2023
One of Essence’s 31 Books You Must Read
One of the most anticipated books by Town & Country and Elle

America is seen through the eyes and ambitions of three characters with ties to Africa in this gripping novel

When siblings Jacob and Belinda Nti were growing up in Ghana, their goal was simple: to move to America. For them, the United States was both an opportunity and a struggle, a goal and an obstacle.…

A Good Man in Africa

By William Boyd,

Book cover of A Good Man in Africa

Keith B. Richburg Author Of Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa

From the list on Africa about journalists, diplomats, and spies.

Who am I?

I’ve been a journalist since high school and I spent 33 years as a reporter for The Washington Post, mostly as a foreign correspondent based in Asia, Africa, and Paris. My book Out Of America chronicled my three years as a correspondent in Africa during some of its most tumultuous events, the Somalia intervention, and the Rwanda genocide. I’ve always thought a well-crafted novel often captures a place or a time better than nonfiction — books like The Quiet American about the Vietnam War, and The Year of Living Dangerously about Indonesia. I now teach a university course on The Role of the Journalist in Popular Fiction, Film and Comics.

Keith's book list on Africa about journalists, diplomats, and spies

Why did Keith love this book?

This laugh-out-loud story of a bumbling British diplomat, Morgan Leafy, in the fictitious African country of Kinjanja evokes the immediate British post-colonial with a dark wit and a sense for the absurd. The colonial expats depicted in the book are all thoroughly dislikable, but as Leafy gets mired deeper and deeper into problems, I found myself rooting for him to find a way out. His characterisation of the expats and the locals, and the hilarious interactions between them, seem searingly accurate, probably because Boyd grew up in Nigeria and Ghana, giving him rich material for his first novel.

By William Boyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Good Man in Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A funny first novel about the misadventures surrounding Morgan Leafy, a young, overweight, oversexed British diplomat in West Africa. The book won the 1981 Whitbread Literary Award and the 1982 Somerset Maugham Award.

Wolf Light

By Yaba Badoe,

Book cover of Wolf Light

Gita Ralleigh Author Of The Destiny of Minou Moonshine

From the list on magic realism chosen by a children’s author.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and poet who loved reading books set in fantasy worlds like Narnia as a child. When I began writing for children, I realised my own magical experiences had been on family trips to India, where goddesses and temples, palaces swarming with monkeys, ice-capped mountains, and elephant rides were part of everyday life. The term ‘magic realism’ seemed to better fit my own fantasy world, Indica. Here, elemental magic is rooted in the myths and culture of young hero Minou Moonshine, expanding her experiences and guiding the search for her destiny. The children’s books I've chosen also contain supernatural and magical elements which are intrinsic to the protagonist’s world – no wardrobe needed!

Gita's book list on magic realism chosen by a children’s author

Why did Gita love this book?

Wolf Light dazzled me with its original premise. Three girls, born in different lands on the same day – Zula from Mongolia, Adoma from Ghana, and Linet from Cornwall – communicate through magic.

Zula is a shaman’s daughter, and her father shows her how to connect with her sisters, all destined to be guardians of the earth. Zula’s mountain home is threatened by copper-mining, Adoma’s forest by gold prospectors, and Linet is the guardian of the Linet Lake.

When their homelands are threatened, the girls must use their shared powers to defend them, at great cost to themselves.

By Yaba Badoe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Wolf Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'She weaves ancient storytelling magic into words of exceptional beauty... Everyone should read Badoe' Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs.

A leopard dances under the moon.
A wolf prowls.
A red-beaked bird flies free.

Three girls born on the same day in wolf light are bound together to protect the world. They can dazzle or destroy. They have wind-song and fire-fury at their fingertips, but their enemies are everywhere.

From the bleak steppes to the tropical forests of Ghana and the stormy moors of Cornwall, the lands they love are plundered and poisoned. The girls must rally…

Book cover of The New American Servitude: Political Belonging Among African Immigrant Home Care Workers

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From the list on migration and aging.

Who am I?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Why did Michele love this book?

When American families hire “market proxies” to do care work, it leads to all sorts of tangled relationships. In this book, Cati Coe explores the experiences of immigrant Ghanaian home health workers in the US. Care work, although often monotonous and difficult, is also incredibly intimate, meaningful, and personal. These migrants provide crucial services for American elders, but many of them feel so unwelcome that they return to Africa when they retire. I love the gritty details that this book provides as it explores the paradoxes of discrimination and exploitation that Black African women face in the care work industry. If you like this book as much as I do, consider reading Coe’s subsequent book, which follows retired Ghanaian care workers back to Africa.   

By Cati Coe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finalist, 2020 Elliott P. Skinner Award, given by the Association of Africanist Anthropology
Examines why African care workers feel politically excluded from the United States
Care for America's growing elderly population is increasingly provided by migrants, and the demand for health care labor is only expected to grow. Because of this health care crunch and the low barriers to entry, new African immigrants have adopted elder care as a niche employment sector, funneling their friends and relatives into this occupation. However, elder care puts care workers into racialized, gendered, and age hierarchies, making it difficult for them to achieve social…

Elmina, 'The Little Europe'

By Joseph K. Adjaye,

Book cover of Elmina, 'The Little Europe': European Impact and Cultural Resilience

Manu Herbstein Author Of Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade

From the list on the Transatlantic slave trade for serious scholars.

Who am I?

As an engineer, I have constructed bridges, highways, and power plants throughout Africa, and on journeys learned and explored the continent's history. My novel, Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, won the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Best First Book. My 200 plus sources, and excerpts from many of them, are listed on the companion website

Manu's book list on the Transatlantic slave trade for serious scholars

Why did Manu love this book?

This book is a brief introduction to the history of Elmina, its castle, the people, and their traditions. It outlines the town’s 500-year relations with Europeans, highlighting the transformations that have developed out of these interactions. Written by one of the top historians of Ghana and a leading scholar of the African diaspora, the book is based on original archival information and oral sources. It is richly informed by the writer’s own personal knowledge as a citizen of Elmina.

By Joseph K. Adjaye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elmina, 'The Little Europe' as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a brief introduction to the history of Elmina, its castle, the people, and their traditions. It outlines the town’s 500-year relations with Europeans, highlighting the transformations that have developed out of these interactions. Written by one of the top historians of Ghana and a leading scholar of the African diaspora, the book is based on original archival information and orally-derived sources. It is also richly informed by the writer’s own personal knowledge as a Nyampa Safohen and citizen of Elmina. Despite the tremendous changes engendered by the European contact, Elmina’s historical development demonstrates an amazing degree of cultural…