It's that time of the year when the 'Best books of [fill in year]' lists are released, and this year (as with previous years), I love to find out which African books made it on to the lists. Well, over on the NYT no African books were on the editors of of the NYT Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2016, but not to worry BuzzFeed - whose list of 24 best fiction books of 2016 is pretty awesome - cites Helen Oyeyemi's What is Not Yours is Not Yours and Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing. Canada's The Globe & Mail also lists Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing as one of their 100 best books of the year, while on the Slate, Laura Miller's 10 Favourite Books of 2016 includes Helen Oyeyemi's What is Not Yours is Not Yours.
Some of my favourite books this year were published by Cassava Republic ... Particularly striking was 'Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun' by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, a lyrical novel about the pains and pleasures of ageing and lives well-lived. I also enjoyed Elnathan John's 'Born on a Tuesday', a sensitive coming-of-age novel set in northern Nigeria, and I loved Abubakar Adam Ibrahim's wonderful 'Season of Crimson Blossoms', an unexpected intergenerational love story set against the menacing background of political violence. Cassava Republic was also the first publisher to recognise the talents of Teju Cole, whose 'Known and Strange Things' (Faber/Random House) is my non-fiction book of the year.
Nnedi Okorafor's novella Binti and Nick Wood's debut adult novel Azanian Bridges are a couple of the Guardian's best SF and Fantasy books of 2016.
While one of the Guardian's best fiction of 2016 is JM Coetzee's The Schooldays of Jesus.
Clearly it's still early days and over the next couple of weeks there will be more 'best of' lists produced. While it seems like the frontrunners are Homegoing and What is Not Yours is Not Yours, it's really refreshing to see African SFF on the Guardian's Best SFF list. I eagerly await the other lists, but for now - what were some of your favourite (African) books published this year?
Update: So it turns out I didn't have to wait too long for even more lists, as in the last couple of days more have been released. So here are even more best books of 2016.
No books by an African writer made it on to HuffPost's 18 Best Fiction Books of 2016, but
Esquire's 25 best books of 2016 also featured Homegoing and What is Not Yours is Not Yours, as well as Trevor Noah's Born a Crime and Hisham Matar's The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between. Elle's 33 Best Books of 2016, also lists What is Not Yours is Not Yours and Homegoing.
And the greatest of all lists - visually, magnitude, content, categories - comes courtesy of NPR (they may have topped themselves this year - I mean Ta-nehis Coates Black Panther is on the list). When I grow up, I want to make lists like NPR (jus' sayin'). On their list of 309 titles, includes Homegoing, What is Not Yours is Not Yours, Born a Crime, The Return and Behold the Dreamers, as well as Luvvie Ajayi's I'm Judging You and Sofia Samatar's The Winged Histories.
... there's also Joshua Hammer's The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (okay so not written by an African writer, but it's about bad-ass librarians from Timbuktu so it's being added to the list).