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Top ten books about Nigeria

The list featured on this page was compiled by author Barnaby Phillips and published in the Guardian of 10 September 2014. It includes both fictions and non-fictions, written mostly by Nigerians about Nigeria. There is no doubt that the list reflects the opinion of the compiler nevertheless, I found the list intriguing and had the article bookmarked ever since its publication. I mentioned the date of the publication of the article in the Guardian as a lot has happened is happening in the Nigerian literary scene, with the emergence of fresh talents such as Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, J. Michael, Igoni Barrett, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, etc. who are making waves in the literary world. It is, therefore, conceivable, that the list could change if it were subjected to a review.

Coming back to Barnaby Philip’s list, my intention was is to read all the books in the list but over two years on, I have still not completed my quest, much to my shame – a lot has to do with my busy schedule though I must confess that I have almost forgotten about it. Anyway, the quest is now resurrected and barring any major catastrophe, I intend to read all the books before the end of year – I’m being realistic here and setting an achievable goal.


Please scroll down as I present to you the top ten books about Nigeria per Barnaby Philips. You can also click here for a rundown of each. Do you agree with Philips or is there any book you think should have made the list? Kindly let us know in the comment section.

Please also note that with the exception of “Things Fall Apart” at the top of the list (my personal favourite by the way), that the compiler did not rank the books in any “in any order of significance/importance/worthiness etc.”


  1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

2. The Trouble With Nigeria by Chinua Achebe

      3.The Nigerian Civil War by John de St Jorre

4. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


  1. Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa

6. Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro-Wiwa

7. My Nigeria by Peter Cunliffe-Jones

8. Ake by Wole Soyinka

9. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin

10 Open City by Teju Cole



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