Posted on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 11:10

The Africa Report's book picks of 2011

By The Africa Report

The Africa Report gives you its favourite books from 2011.

altOne Day I Will Write About This Place, written by Binyavanga Wainaina, Graywolf Press

The powerful and lyrical memoir from Kenyan Caine Prize winner Binyavanga Wainaina was worth the wait. He charts a path to adulthood, exploring home and diaspora in, at times, a searing rejection of the status quo. 

Karama! Journeys through the Arab Spring, written by Johnny West, Heron Books

For all those who want to get inside the reasons beind the Arab Spring, Johnny West has done it for you, from Sidi Bouzid to Alexandria. 

Fine Boys, written by Eghosa Imasuen, Farafina

Nigeria's first e-Book, Fine Boys has the atmosphere of early-to-mid-1990s Nigeria, drawing the reader into the Hobbesian world of a university campus paralysed by strikes and overrun by murderous student cults. 

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, written by Jason Stearns, Public Affairs

Stearns's book on the Congo is a wide-angle lens that still picks up the personal details of the characters behind the continent's forgotten war. 

altMorgan Tsvangirai: At the deep end, Morgan Tsvangirai, Eye Books

In a move that is unusual for a sitting Zimbabwean politician, the prime minister lifts the lid on his march to the summit of power beside Robert Mugabe.

Advocates for Change, written by Moeletsi Mbeki, Picador Africa 

Thorn in the side of South Africa's ANC, Moeletsi Mbeki collects recommendations from scholars across the continent on Africa's way forward. 

Kenya: Between Hope & Despair (1963-2011), written by Daniel Branch, Yale University Press An insightful and accessible account of post-independence Kenyan politics. Historian Daniel Branch traces the nation's history through its most epochal events and brings new material about previously undocumented conflicts and decisions at the centre of the nation's life. 

Open City, written by Teju Cole, Random House

The task facing the reader of Cole's novel is to try to keep up with its most restless of narrators, Julius, a Nigerian-German psychiatrist in New York. It demands the highest levels of stamina, but produces in return – by virtue of the masterful prose – immense, lingering satisfaction.

altThe Granta Book of the African Short Story, edited by Helon Habila, Granta Books

These 29 stories, from 29 new and established African writers, give an excellent introduction to a continent that deserves to have the story-producing genius of its people factored into its GDP.

And Crocodiles are Hungry at Night, written by Jack Mapanje, Ayebia 

Malawian poet Jack Mapanje's memoir gives a blow-by-blow account of his brutal imprisonment under the rule of life president Hasting Banda in the 1980s. 

This article was first published in the November edition of The Africa Report, on sale at newsstands, 
via our print subscription or our digital edition.

Also read: 

 - Catastrophe - what went wrong in Zimbabwe? 

 - Book ends and new beginnings in publishing

 - Poetry: Nairobi's literary gangsters


Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 12:06

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