Choosing our Best Nigerian books for 2015 was a challenge because there are so many great Nigerian books published this year but we're confident you'll find in our 10 books a staggering selection of variety, depth, and nuance.
This year's cover author El Nathan John's Born on a Tuesday, whose brilliant, shape-shifting tale about Northern Nigeria, shook up what we thought fiction writing could do.
In our top 10, you'll also find an unforgettable non-fiction that drove much of this year's conversation: Everything in Nigeria would kill you by Ayo Sogunro. On the fiction side, The Fishermen by debut author Chigozie Obioma which combines classic African Story telling with contemporary fiction won awards and made headlines everywhere in the world.
Other books on our list include satirist and provocative nonfiction Naija no dey carry Last by Pius Adesanmi, Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie.
1. The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
Described as a fantastic book that combines classic African Story telling with contemporary fiction, The Fishermen did a great job in illuminating Nigeria in all its historical, political and cultural complexity.
This book was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize , 2015 Centre For Fiction First Novel Prize, Guardian first book award and longlisted for the Etisalat prize for Literature, among others.
2. Blackass by Igoni Barrett
This debut novel describes contemporary Lagos with infectious vivacity and exactness. This book rank highest as one of the best Nigerian book this year because its explores modern-day Metamorphosis perfectly and what it would be like for a Nigerian to wake up with white skin.
3. Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John
Elnathan's brilliant, shape-shifting tale about Northern Nigeria, shook up what we thought fiction writing could do.
Even Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation says 'this is an ambitious book that tackles modern Nigeria’s extremely complex religious landscape with great insight, passion and humour by taking us deep into the mental and emotional space of the country’s most neglected”.
4. The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okoroafor
Written as a prequel to her award-winning book Who Fears Death (2010), the Book of Phoenix is that near-perfect book where science fiction and magical realism overlap.
The Book of Phoenix made our best Nigerian book list because it is a pulse-pounding sci-fi novel that tackles colonialism and non-consensual medical experimentation in an interesting and different manner unseen in most African literature books.
5. Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie
Irenosen Okojie’s début novel Butterfly Fish brings to life the magic of Nigerian story telling. In a spellbinding saga of love, deceit, guilt and atonement, this book traverses the realms of magic realism with luminous style and graceful, effortless prose.
Butterfly Fish is described as a work of contrasts: abstract and concrete; love and loss; African and English; epic and intimate.
6. This House is not for Sale by E.C Osondu
Known for its distinct and creative cover, this book tells a powerful tale of an average Nigerian family and community.
This novel paints a vivid, fully imagined portrait of an extraordinary African family and the house that holds them together. It also touches on some of the big, familiar themes in Nigerian writing: the city, poverty, disease, religion, corruption, gender and sexuality.
7. Everything in Nigeria would kill you by Ayo Sogunro (Non-Fiction)
Everything in Nigeria is going to Kill you is a fantastic collection of essays that was written to expose "The Paradoxical Lifestyle of the Average Nigerian.'
Compared to other books written by Nigerians on bad governance, corruption, terrorism etc, this book uses satire to describe and understand the survival abilities of an average Nigerian in a system that is definitely dysfunctional.
8. Satans and Shaitans by Obinna Udenwe
Satans and Shaitans is a powerful crime thriller that covers the troubling rise of a terrorist group, the dubious nature of Christian evangelism and the ingrained corruption in politics.
Set against the backdrop of Nigeria’s on-going terrorist tensions, Satans & Shaitans is acclaimed to be ‘a fresh, authentic new voice in Nigeria Crime Fiction'.
9. Seasons of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Set in a conservative Hausa society, Season of Crimson Blossoms tells the story of a 55 year old widow who has an illicit affair with a street rebel half her age.
Characters in this book de-stereotype societal held norms and this is why South African novelist Zoe Wicomb described it as “a powerful and compelling debut!"
10. Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
This is the story of lesbian love in Nigeria and also about a young woman who is forced to hide her love and lover due to the constraints of her family and society.
In Under the Udala Trees, Ms. Okparanta states that her novel is attempting to “give Nigeria’s marginalized Gay and Lesbian citizens a more powerful voice, and a place in our nation’s history.”
On the Bank of the River by Ifeoluwapo Adeniyi
Praised for its beautiful narration of the African culture, this book is a coming of story about a girl named Enitan and her love hate relationship with her mother.
Longlisted for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature, this book narrates beautifully intriguing stories of coming of age and loss of innocence.
Naija No Dey Carry Last by Pius Adesanmi (Non-Fiction)
This book gathers the author's most important reflections on Nigeria over the last decade.
In this book, Pius Adesanmi delivers brilliant political satire with his incredible skill at blending cultural infusions and the Nigerian street language, without any loss of expression identity.
Did your book made the list? Share your favourite Nigerian book in the comments below.