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Bookshelf: A cultural collection

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Vintage, 2014)

A memorable coming-of-age story focusing on Darling and friends from Paradise, Zimbabwe, who dream of moving to the West following the loss of their homes. Darling eventually moves to America in the hope of a better life.

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Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia (Walker Books, 2015)

The title character learns about love and sharing after becoming a big sister to twin brothers. Children will warm to this book about welcoming newborns. The Afrocentric images complement the story and the inside and back cover pictures are talking points.

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Aké – The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka (Rex Collings, 1981)

Wole Soyinka’s account of growing up in Abekouta is entertaining and insightful. Soyinka became the first African to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

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Daughters of Africa by Margaret Busby (Jonathan Cape, 1992)

A collection of fiction, poetry, life writing, short stories, excerpts from classic texts and drama from women across the diaspora. Published to international acclaim in 1992

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Saving Safa: Rescuing a Little Girl from FGM by Waris Dirie, (Virago, 2015)

The model turned anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaigner writes about how she protected Safa Nour from undergoing the practice and how that one act led to a change of attitudes in Djibouti. Safa played the young Waris Dirie in the film Desert Flower.

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A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Francis Lincoln, 1996)

This award-winning alphabet book teaches children about African culture and heritage with the use of photographic images.

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Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Harper Perennial, 2007)

The novel focuses on the impact of the Biafran war on three characters from different social backgrounds whose lives are intertwined with ethnicity and colonialism as the main themes.

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The Drum by Chinua Achebe (Fourth Dimension Publishing, 1977)

This children’s book draws on a traditional tale where a tortoise tries to exert his power over other animals to become their king with the help of a magical drum. It is a time- less, rich story, perfect for reading aloud.

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So the Path Does Not Die by Pede Hollist (Jacaranda, 2014)

History, family and identity form the basis of this hard-hitting novel that centres on tackling the practice of female genital mutilation. Told in the oral storytelling tradition, it is rich in proverbs.

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My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege with Nikola Sellmar (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015)

Family histories form the basis of this memoir on how German-Nigerian Jennifer Teege discovered her maternal grandfather, Amon Goeth, was responsible for the clearing of the Krakow Ghetto in 1948.

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Africa 39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Short stories and works in progress from contemporary African writers including Chibundo Onuzo, the youngest ever author signed by Faber & Faber. Watch out for Malawian writer Shadreck Chikoti.

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The Palmwine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola (Faber & Faber, 1952)
This was the first book published in English by an African writer. Faber & Faber has reissued a collection of Tutuola’s work, a collection of traditional tales dating back to the early 1940s.

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