14 books directly related to Ghana 📚

All 14 Ghana books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

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

By Joseph K. Adjaye,

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

Why 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.


Homegoing

By Yaa Gyasi,

Book cover of Homegoing

Why this book?

Being originally from West Africa, this book is a journey back home for me in so many ways. A real homegoing. It is well-written and paced in a way that as I follow each character, I am reliving their story and relating to it on an emotional level I surprised myself with. 


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

By Laurie Ann Thompson, Sean Qualls (illustrator),

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

Why 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. 


Ghana Must Go

By Taiye Selasi,

Book cover of Ghana Must Go

Why this book?

A propulsive, elegant novel that goes back and forth in time remembering the progressive scattering of a family across the globe because of a singular decision by its patriarch – to leave – and then charting their coming back together. It moved me, putting its finger on the meaning of family in a way that felt true and specific to my own experiences as a son and a brother.


The Dilemma of a Ghost

By Christina Ama Ata. Aidoo,

Book cover of The Dilemma of a Ghost

Why 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.”


Wolf Light

By Yaba Badoe,

Book cover of Wolf Light

Why this book?

When copper miners plunder Zula's desert home in Gobi Altai, and Adoma's forest and river are polluted by gold prospectors, it is only a matter of time before the lake Linet guards with her life is also in jeopardy. How far will Zula, Adoma, and Linet go to defend the well-being of their homes? And when all else fails, will they have the courage to summon the ancient power of their order, to make the landscape speak in a way that everyone will hear?


The Shadow of the Sun

By Ryszard Kapuściński,

Book cover of The Shadow of the Sun

Why this book?

I prefer to read books whose focus lingers long enough on a conflict to uncover its complexities and contradictions. But in this instance, despite The Shadow of the Sun sometimes reading like a backpacker’s travel memoir, I couldn’t put it down. Spanning four decades and much of Africa, the narrative begins in the newly independent Ghana of the nineteen-sixties when the hopes and aspirations of a continent are alive on the streets of Accra, and continues through to the troubled times of Eritrea and Ethiopia in the mid-nineties and many coups and wars in between. Kapuściński’s writing covers the mundane through to the life-changing. From the state of the roads, to stories of his neighbors, to the geopolitics of governments, the breadth of his writing helps the reader contextualize the Africa of today.


Fledgling

By Hannah Bourne-Taylor,

Book cover of Fledgling

Why 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.


A Good Man in Africa

By William Boyd,

Book cover of A Good Man in Africa

Why 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.


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

By Bolu Babalola,

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

Why 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.


Queens: Portraits of Black Women and their Fabulous Hair

By Michael Cunningham, George Alexander,

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

Why 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.


Pigeon English

By Stephen Kelman,

Book cover of Pigeon English

Why 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.


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

By Cynthia Barnett,

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

Why 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.


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

By Cati Coe,

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

Why 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.