Channels Book Club’s Top 10 Nigerian Fiction Books Of 2018

 

The year 2018 saw a bumper harvest of excellent books of fiction by Nigerian writers with debut novels turning out the most desirable of the harvest.

Below is Channels Book Club’s top 10 books of fiction by Nigerian writers for the year.

1. FRESHWATER by Akwaeke Emezi

 

This impressive debut novel is dark, powerful and provocative. It is, in many ways, about the complexities of a divided self, construction of identities and multiple realities. It focuses on a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her.

As she grew, Ada became a source of deep concern to her family with her exhibition of volatility. When she came of age and moved to America for college, the group of selves within her grew in power. It soon became clear that something had gone terribly wrong.

2. MY MIND IS NO LONGER HERE by Nze Sylva Ifedigbo

 

Osahon – a man who is haunted by a dark past. Donatus, a graduate obsessed with a single-minded resolve to be better than his father. Haruna, the doctor who could not save his and Chidi – an unemployed graduate who wants to become wealthy at any cost.

The world of these four men become entangled with Yinka, the front man for a powerful trafficking syndicate in this intriguing novel. It’s the story of a nation in the midst of decay and of men willing to risk it all in a bid to chase dreams beyond their reach.

3. WHEN TROUBLE SLEEPS by Leye Adenle

 

When Trouble Sleeps is a thriller that plunges into the dark world of greed, political intrigue, blackmail, murder and sex workers.

The novel’s protagonist, Amaka, in this sequel to the award-winning Easy Motion Tourist, returns to continue her one-woman crusade to protect vulnerable women while seeking out ways to bring justice to abusers and corrupt politicians.

The self-appointed saviour of Lagos’ sex workers, Amaka may have bitten off more than she can chew this time as she finds herself embroiled in a complex political scandal that rocked the state and everything dear to her.

Caught in a game of survival, against a backdrop of corruption, sex, and violence, Amaka must find a way to outwit those gunning for her life.

4. THE EXTINCTION OF MENAI by Chuma Nwokolo

Twins separated at birth discover their true identities many years later.

Brothers Humphrey, a London writer, and Zanda, a journalist in Abuja, Nigeria, are descendants of a Nigerian tribe whose members were subjected to drug tests that killed thousands.

In this stunning novel, Chuma Nwokolo moves across time and continents to deliver a story that explores power relations expressed through the competing narratives that record the life and death of a civilization.

5. LAGOS NOIR Edited by Chris Abani

The award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir, comprises of new stories, each set in a distinct location within the geographic area of the book.

Lagos Noir joins the series with a set of exciting new stories by some of Nigeria’s most brilliant writers like Nnedi Okorafor, E.C. Osondu, Jude Dibia, Chika Unigwe, A. Igoni Barrett, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Uche Okonkwo, and Leye Adenle.

This anthology stands out because of its unique and philosophical approach to crime in Lagos – one of the world’s fastest growing cities. It’s a must-read for lovers of crime stories.

6. CHILDREN OF THE BLOOD AND BONES by Tomi Adeyemi

This young adult fantasy novel that is the first of a trilogy, is loaded with West African mythology, captivating magic and consummate plots that highlight themes like racism and oppression.

This book stretches the boundaries of imagination with its fascinating action scenes and incredible creatures.

It debuted at number one on The New York Times best-seller list for young adult books and is currently being developed as a movie by Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

7. DISOWNED by Nina Anyianuka

This is a collection of five stories of sadistic abuse, violence and an almost institutional sexual cruelty towards young girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa where the society is built on the power of men and timidity of women.

The stories are told by five fictional Nigerian women who recount their personal experiences in their own voices. Issues ranging from sexual abuse and child molestation to prostitution, widowhood and domestic violence are tackled head-on in this book.

Though deeply emotional and dark, Nina’s fast-paced and light-hearted writing approach makes the book enjoyable to read and difficult to put down.

8. AFONJA – THE RISE by Tunde Leye

This is an exciting novel that makes a brilliant attempt at capturing and narrating the legendary story of the battle for supremacy between Prince Aole Arogangan, the newly selected Alaafin of the empire and Afonja, the powerful provincial chief of war, Ilorin.

Afonja had been promised the office of Aare Ona Kakanfo of all the Oyo forces by the Oyo chiefs in order to secure his support for Aole’s ascension. He would stop at nothing to take what he believed was his by right.

Afonja – The Rise is the story of how the clashes of these two men and the intrigue of the others around them transformed what was a slow decline into a race of the empire towards its collapse.

Leye’s brilliance as a writer manifests in this thrilling historical fiction.

9. EMBERS by Soji Cole

This book won the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2018. It’s dramatic literature that focuses on frightful contemporary experiences in the dreaded Sambisa Forest and one of the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) Camps in Northern Nigeria.

Soji Cole, who is a member of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ibadan as a teacher of playwriting at the Department of Theatre Arts, held nothing back in creatively constructing a tale that couldn’t be more relevant in today’s Nigeria.

10. WE WON’T FADE INTO DARKNESS by TJ Benson

An abusive father is forced out of safety to find his runaway son in a world where males are going extinct and female monarchs have resorted to drastic methods to ensure continuity of the Nigerian race.

An Ogbanje travels to a near post-apocalyptic Nigeria from the past with a solution even she is not aware of. A white boy who lives in Lagos seizes a banned book from one of his father’s Nigerian household serfs and their friendship yields disastrous consequences in Passion Fruit.

We Won’t Fade into Darkness is a collection of fascinating stories whose common thread is hope. TJ Benson who is a Nigerian writer and creative photographer makes a statement with this brilliant book.

Channels Book Club Features Authors; Stephen Ojji, Toyin Bejide

channels book clubOn this edition of Channels Book Club, we featured one of America’s leading authorities on the enhancement of personal effectiveness, the development of human potential, and the art of salesmanship, Brian Tracy.

Tracy, a respected international bestselling author, recently visited Nigeria to provide business development tools for business owners and managers and he took out time to inspire young Nigerians.

The Book Club also had a chat with Stephen Ojji, a Nigerian business coach, trainer and entrepreneur and founder of Brimass – a business development and support company.

Ojji co-authored a book titled, ‘Crafting Your Own Turf’ – success strategies for attaining significance in business, career and life.

Stephen joined us to discuss this book and a few other related things.

We also interviewed a young and talented fiction writer, Toyin Bejide, the author of 30 Sheckels, which is a novel about love, jealousy and hatred. She joined us to discuss her book and what living in Nigeria means for young, emerging writers like her.

Channels Book Club: Analyst Speaks On Future Of Traditional Libraries, Books

channels book clubOn this edition of Channels Book Club, an expert in library and information science, Dr Malore Brown speaks on the future of traditional libraries and books.

Many people are unaware of the tremendous free library and information services the American government offers the Nigerian public. Also, have you ever wondered if there is any future for libraries and books as we traditionally know them?

This segment features Dr. Malore Brown, the information resource officer with the U.S. Mission in Nigeria as she speaks on those services offered to the Nigerian public and her thoughts on the future of books and libraries.

Channels Book Club Features Andrew Eseimokumo Oki, Dayo Oladele-Ilori

This edition of Channels Book Club features two emerging voices in Africa’s creative writing space, Andrew Eseimokumo Oki and Dayo Oladele-Ilori.

Enjoy!

War Veteran Says Obasanjo’s Civil War Memoir Is Full Of Errors

A Nigerian war veteran, Brigadier General Godwin Alabi-Isama (Rtd), has said that former president Olusegun Obasnajo’s memoir of the civil war, My Command, is full of errors, adding that, the former military head of state only joined the war 30 days to its end.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Alabi-Isama debunked claims that his recently published civil war memoir titled Tragedy of Victory, is about General Olusegun Obasanjo but rather about his work at the war front.

“This book is not about Obasanjo”. “It is about his work” in the war front, he said.

“He was not there” and “he did not know enough,” he added.

He alleged that many of the older soldiers who fought in the war ‘made noise’ about their activities in the war in order to secure political positions.

“I didn’t know that if I made a lot of noise about what I did, I could have been made a governor or minister or a head of state but all these elder people knew what it would be if they made a lot of noise.”

“Every sentence there on strategy and tactics is not right.” Even “the captions on some pictures are not correct”

Alabi-Isama, who was once a Chief of Staff and then Sector Commander, said working with the former head of state was “very difficult”

He said although the book is not about him, it is impossible not to mention Obasanjo, who only came to the battlefield 30 days before the end of the war which lasted six months.

“When somebody was not there but claimed to be there, it can be very annoying”

The book, he said, records his own participation in the war, what people did to him and what he did to/for them.

The book, Tragedy of Victory, is a 670 page memoir containing his account of the Biafran war, 450 war pictures (some duplicated), 35 maps and 19 documents of the war.

The war veteran explained the title of the book which came about because the civil war was successful but has resulted in tragedy because lessons were not learnt from it.

“Where did we find the war in the first place? The first coup said there was corruption, there was nepotism, there was banality

Don’t we have that now?” he asked.

Retired soldiers

Alabi-Isama raised concerns about the welfare of men who fought in the war and are now retired with little or nothing to live by. He also mentioned Baba Akinkunmi, who designed the National flag but can “barely feed himself”.

“How much does it cost for this country to look after a person like that?”

One of the soldiers who he worked with, Major Salau (retired) is left to fend for himself with N2,600 as pension every month. “Civil war soldiers have become beggars all over the country.”

“This is quite a tragedy,” he said.

This trend, he said, would create an effect in the psyche of the younger generation who would be discouraged from doing ‘anything nice for the country’ because the country isn’t looking after anybody.

“The aim of the book is to address the youth, who will be leaders of tomorrow.”

Lesson from civil war

Asked if the country has learned lessons it should have learnt from the war, he said “we haven’t learnt anything and that’s why it’s a tragedy”

He said the war was to foster unity “We wanted unity in the country, But are we united?” he asked.

“We need competition. We need true federalism”.

Folorunso Alakija Launches Book For Widows And Orphans

In this episode of the Channels Book Club,  Folorunso Alakija – ranked by Forbes as one of Africa’s top 40 richest persons –  reviews her new book and mission to support widows and orphans.

Also, Kayode Aderinokun former Authors Association of Nigeria chairman, Lagos chapter, talks about his experiences and thoughts on Nigeria’s book culture.

There’s also a peek into what the corporate world has planned for books and writers.

Enjoy!

Business Executives Open Up On Their Passion For Books

Bolaji Osime and Martin Udogie in this episode of Channels Book Club open up on their passion for books.

Bolaji, an educationist and lawyer is the CEO of Global International College. She shares her shift from the courts to the classroom which she describes as ‘following her calling’.

Martin Udogie is the CEO of Brainpower Limted and publisher of Bottomline Newsletter.

Also, music sensation, Ego takes a minute to advice on the usefulness of reading to the mind.

Enjoy!!!