Outstanding Nigerian books to read during the lockdown

Uyanwune, Chekwube
5 min readMay 11, 2020


As an intellectual citizen or child of any country, it is a thing of joy to boast of the number of books of local origins you have consumed and how effortlessly you can tell stories illustrated in those books. As they say, charity begins from home.

To a certain degree, I failed in this regard. Whilst. Whilst I Am an ardent reader of books, I have most times preferred to read works of foreign origins whilst disregarding the stories coming from the home. Whereas I had read books like Things fall apart, Joys of motherhood, Chike and the river, Eze goes to school and the likes, but then I always rush to choose foreign works with no hesitation.

But, this changed on a certain Sunday in 2013, when I was a student at the Xiamen University china, after a church service, a classmate who was a member of the congregation called me over to introduce me to her British friend, the friend who just moved to China was so excited to meet me having introduced myself as a Nigerian. She talked about the Nigerian books she had read. She started with my dear Things fall apart, of which I engaged her to discuss the book. But then she started drifting towards books by Wole Soyinka, who she said lived and lectured at a university in her hometown. By then she had completely lost me, but as a Nigerian, I escaped the heat of the moment and promised to meet her on another day to have more book conversations.

I went back to my hostel that day to dig out some Nigerian books so I might be able to hold a proper conversation with her on a later date. Truth is, you don’t have to be an embarrassment like me if you have not started on your own Nigerian books’ journey. Like the Igbo proverb “whenever one wakes up from sleep, that is his morning”.

We’re all practising the art of social distancing right now, right? So, naturally, it’s the perfect time to catch up on a bunch of books that have come out from Nigeria; fiction, non-fiction, biographies, no matter what you like, Nigeria is blessed with a plethora of quintessential writers to meet your wants.

So here is my list of books by Nigerian authors you can read this period.

Things fall apart
I can never begin to make a list of books, both Nigerian and foreign without mentioning this masterpiece by Chinualumogu Achebe. A story of one of the greatest warriors of Nigeria, Okonkwo, he is a leader of the Umuofia clan, a highly respected man in his village who cannot accept any change in life including the new Christianity. This book is a must-read for everyone.

The joys of motherhood

This book about the life of a Nigerian woman Nnu ego who had terrible fate with childbearing. Buchi Emecheta explores the life of a Nigerian woman in this book.

Death and the king’s horseman
The first Wole Soyinka books I ever read, it is a play based on a real incident that took place during the colonial times.

An African night's entertainment
This book by Cyprian Ekwensi for me is the most unusual Nigerian books I have ever read, I have lost count the number of times I have read this work, but whenever I read it, it always appears new.

Half of a yellow sun

Adichie tells a story of the devastating Biafra war through the perspectives of the characters of Olanna, Odenigbo, Kainene and co. For the young Nigerian, this is an ideal read as the book takes us back to what family, friendship and love were like in such a troubled season.

The Cover

A family that had it all, fame, money and power. Everyone wanted to be like them or with them, but when a member of the family carries a secret that might tumble everything the family stands for. Adanna Elechi writes such an intriguing story in her debut work.

The first book by a Nigerian woman to be published. Flora Nwapa writes the story about Efuru, a Nigerian woman who lives in a small village in West Africa during colonial times. The book portrays the Igbo culture and is considered to be a stepping stone in the feminist movement in Nigeria.

There was a country
Chinualumogu Achebe could take up all the spots in my list perhaps because he is my favourite author, well, if you have not read this his last book, then I am sure you will thank me later for this recommendation.

Other notable mentions include;

Purple hibiscus by Adichie Chimamanda

I do not come to you by chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

SOZABOY by Ken Saro-Wiwa

Every day is for the Thief by Teju Cole

Because I Am involved by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

How to be a Nigerian by Peter Enahoro

I am sure you will enjoy these brilliant books, kindly make recommendations of worthy books not mentioned above. Remember, you do not have to risk going out to get these books, you can always order these books online, there are tonnes of websites and Instagram shops that deliver books to your homes.

Stay safe.



Uyanwune, Chekwube

When a child washes his hands, then he can eat with his elders.