2015 has been an interesting year for the Nigerian literary landscape. From winning more awards for earlier works like Chimamanda Adichie to discovering debut authors like Chigozie Obioma, - This year was definitely a fantastic year for African Literature.
This pulse list might look like a one-man decision, but truly it was a thorough research work as i had to google, research and i did a little math to make sure all the authors that appeared on this list were those who made 2015 another big year for African literature.
This list might also double up as 10 best Nigerian authors for 2015.
Enjoy, and don’t forget to vote for your favorites of the year in our readers’ poll.
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Listed as "100 Most Influential Africans", award winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's made us proud this year as one of her book, Half of a Yellow Sun won the "Best of the Best" award for the Baileys Women's Fiction Prize.
She was also nominated for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria and her work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope.
2. Chigozie Obioma
2015 has been a big year for Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma, with his debut novel 'The Fishermen' being nominated for various big awards and included on a vast amount of “best of” lists.
Obioma won the inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Fiction Award for last month and was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize , 2015 Centre For Fiction First Novel Prize and longlisted for the Etisalat prize for Literature, among others.
Of Igbo descent, Obioma was born in Akure, in the southwestern part of Nigeria.
3. Lola Shoneyin
Although, she has not written another book since the publication of her debut and award winning book The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, Lola Shoneyin made us proud this year after she successfully organized and pulled off one of Africa's biggest arts and Book festival.
Shoneyin brought in more than 80 African writers, artists, filmmakers and thinkers from all over the world who came to Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria to promote and celebrate creativity on the African continent.
Shoneyin has also won the 2011 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award and two Association of Nigerian Authors Awards. she was named on the Hay Festival'sAfrica39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40
4. Teju Cole
Early this year, Teju Cole was part of the 9 writers from across the world awarded the 2015 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize (Fiction) valued at $150,000 (More than 30 million Naira)
Award winning Teju Cole was described as a twitter activist for his innovative use of social media as a creative platform. Cole has also been credited with coining the viral term White-Savior Industrial Complex with a series of Tweets followed by an article published in The Atlantic titled "The White-Savior Industrial Complex. "
Cole is a regular contributor to publications including The New York Times, Qarrtsiluni, Granta, The New Yorker, Transition, The New Inquiry, and A Public Space. He is the photography critic of the New York Times Magazine.
5. Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Awarded 200 thousand Naira by the Marine Platforms for being one of the best writers from the North, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim debut novel Season of Crimson Blossoms shook Northern Nigeria because it explores a steaming love affair between an older woman and a young rebel warrior. The book was edited by African editing Czar, Ellah Allfrey and renowned South African novelist Zoe Wicomb described it as “a powerful and compelling debut!"
Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the ANA Plateau/Amatu Braide Prize for Prose. His debut short story collection The Whispering Trees was long-listed for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014 and shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing.
6. Elnathan John
ElNathan John, an established Nigerian writer and satirist has always made us proud with his short stories and subtle attack on politicians. In November, his debut book Born on A Tuesday went viral with so many Nigerian and foreign authors describing the novel as one of the best book to "explore life, love, friendship, loss and the effects of extremist politics and religion on everyday life in Northern Nigeria”.
John who currently lives in Abuja, has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing (2013 & 2015).
7. Igoni Barrett
Named as one of 39 sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40, Igoni Barrett debut novel Blackass gained a lot of international attention for exploring a strange topic 'what it would be like for a Nigerian to wake up with white skin.'
The hype behind the publication of this book was so huge that it sold out in all bookshops in Nigeria when it was released in July.
Born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to a Nigerian mother and the Jamaican novelist and poet Lindsay Barrett, Igoni Barrett is a winner of the BBC World Service short story competition.
8. Chris Abani
Imprisoned 3 times and placed on death row, Chris Abani is one of Nigeria's contemporary writer to survived all the horrors of "this troubled African nation".
He has been awarded a PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, a Prince Claus Awards, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.
Described as a gritty, riveting, and wholly original murder mystery novel, his latest book The Secret History of Las Vegas is Chris Abani’s most accomplished work to date.
Described as one of the 35 best books to read by BuzzFeed, Okojie made us proud this year when her debut novel Butterfly Fish garnered a lot of attention home and Abroad.
Published in the U.K by Jacaranda Books, Butterfly fish combines traditional Nigerian storytelling and magical realism. Okojie was a selected writer by Theatre Royal Stratford East and Writer in Residence for TEDx East End. In 2014, she was the Prize Advocate for the SI Leeds Literary Prize.
10. E.C Osondu
Epaphras Chukwuenweniwe Osondu 'This House is not for Sale' shook Nigeria when it was published in February 2015. Described as a powerful tale of family and community, This book was listed as one of the best Nigerian books for 2015.
In 2007, E.C Osondu was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African literature and he won the 2009 Caine Prize for African Writing and holds an MFA from Syracuse University. He currently teaches at Providence College in Rhode Island.
Helon Habila and Teju Cole were the only Nigerians awarded the 2015 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize (Fiction) valued at $150,000 (More than 30 million Naira). Habila is a founding member and currently serves on the advisory board of African Writers Trust, "a non-profit entity which seeks to coordinate and bring together African writers in the Diaspora"
Pius Adesanmi deserve an honourable mention for his book Naija No Dey Carry Last, a book that gathers his most important reflections on Nigeria over the last decade.
Pius is a professor of literature and African studies at Carlton University Ottawa Canada and he won the 2013 Prize for African Writing.
Known for his award winning short story collection The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other Sorry Tales. Ayo Sogunro's collection of essays, Everything in Nigeria is Going To Kill You, was voted as one of the best non-fiction books for 2015.
Described by Gary Wolfe as a 'Genius for finding the iconic images and traditions of African culture". Okoroafor made headlines for her book 'Who Fears Death' and she has been named as one of the best women writers who have explored the science fiction genre. Nnedi is an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University at Buffalo, USA.
Described by the Punch Newspaper "one of those who will change the face of literature in Nigeria". Jumoke deserves a honourable mention for her book I Am Memory, which has won so many literary awards in Nigeria.