Travelling to other countries sounds like something that was happening ages ago, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I did not go anywhere past the borders of Romania in the past 12 months. Physically, that is. Because my mind has travelled so much during the past year … from Ghana to Japan, from the UK to Egypt, from Uganda to South Korea.

This post is all about Africa – books set (at least partially) in a country from the African continent. There are all books that I read and that I definitely recommend – if you’re interested in finding out more about them, please follow the link to read my review.

🇪🇹 Ethiopia | The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

Let’s start with a historical fiction book set in Ethiopia! The Shadow King (my review) tells the story of the war between Ethiopia and Italy during WW2. The main focus of the book is on the overlooked contribution of women soldiers in this conflict – the women who did not only care for the wounded, but also fought alongside men.

🇳🇬 Nigeria | The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

The story of Adunni, a 14-year-old girl who grew up in a village in Nigeria, is one of the most emotional and inspiring I’ve ever read (my review). Her journey starts from being sold as wife of a local taxi driver to becoming a housemaid and continuing her attempts to get educated, to have “a louding voice”.

🇬🇭 Ghana | Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing (my review) tells the story of multiple generations (100+ years) descending from the same Asante woman from Ghana. Starting with two half sisters, Effia and Esi, the stories unfold on two parallel streams of the family tree. The two sisters have very different lives – one marries a British Governor, while the other is a enslaved – leading to contrasting lives of their descendants.

🇺🇬 Uganda | We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan

Next destionation: Uganda! Sameer, a young lawyer working at a top law firm in London, gets to know better the roots of his ancestors from Uganda, including the impact of the turbulent political dynamics and twice migration (my review). I discovered Uganda through the eyes of Sameer and it was an amazing journey!

🇲🇬 Madagascar | Red Island House by Andrea Lee

Last stop in Africa: the beautiful island of Madagascar! 🌴 Red Island House (my review) follows the development of a 20+ year marriage between Shay, an African American professor, and Senna, her wealthy Italian husband. The marriage topic is rather the foundation on which other elements are build on – a wide variety of stories about the culture of the Malagasy people, as seen through the eyes of a foreigner.

What stories set in Africa did you enjoy? Please let me know, I’m looking for book recommendations to discover more countries from the African continent!

If you liked this post you might enjoy:


‘Till next time … happy reading!


Cover image by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

12 thoughts on “When travelling meets literature: my journey to discover Africa through books

  1. I’m so happy to see this post as I am always looking for book recommendations from other countries of the world. Homegoing has been on my list for a long time but I will add the others.

    From my own “around the world” reading of the last few years I can recommend Americanah (Nigeria), Born a Crime (South Africa), Season of Migration to the North (Sudan), and All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (Ghana).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so so much for the book ideas! I’ve only heard of Americanah, the others are new to me. So happy when I received recommendations that are out of my “bubble”! Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That map with the books connected to the countries is GORGEOUS! I’m jealous of your computer skills. I literally have a print out map that I will color in when I read a book set in Africa. I enjoyed the nonfiction investigative journalism book A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo (first generation African American author), The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendia Huchu (Zimbabwean author), and Return to Laughter by Eleanor Smith Bowen (not an African author, but an anthropologist in Africa).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! The map is quite easy to be made, it’s only using PowerPoint – you can find on the internet map templates for PowerPoint Presentations and then you can colour each individual country 🙂

      Thank you for the recommendations!! 😀


      1. I can’t believe that is PowerPoint. Then again, I haven’t been in college in ten years, and the last four years of grad school wouldn’t have required me to do a PowerPoint, so perhaps I just don’t know what it’s capable of!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I use it almost daily for my job, and I was so amazed at the beginning when I realized what a powerful tool it is!

        The discussion with you made me think of creating a post with tips & tricks on how I use PowerPoint for the visuals of my blog 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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