Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian poet, novelist, professor, and critic. Often described as Africa's greatest storyteller, Achebe is widely regarded as the father of modern African writing. He was the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Man Booker International Prize 2007. His novel Things Fall Apart is one of the most read books in Africa.
Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and feminist. She is popular for writing novels, such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. She is credited with popularizing African literature among a new generation of readers, especially in the United States. In 2015, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.
Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.
One of the finest African-American sci-fi authors, Octavia Butler was raised single-handedly by her widowed mother. Best known for the Patternist series and the short story Bloodchild, she often mingled mythology and spirituality in her work. She was the first sci-fi author to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
N. K. Jemisin became the first writer to win the Hugo Best Novel award thrice consecutively and is best known for her Inheritance trilogy and her Broken Earth series. The African-American author is also a trained psychologist and has worked as a counsellor in several universities.
Claude McKay was a poet who played an influential role in the Harlem Renaissance. Remembered for his work If We Must Die, a poem written in response to mob attacks on African-American communities by white Americans, McKay was named the national poet of Jamaica in 1977. For his contribution to literature, he was posthumously honored with the Order of Jamaica.
Jamaican-British Marxist sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall is remembered as a pioneering figure of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. A skilled academic, he was also the founding-editor of the New Left Review. His encoding and decoding model remains one of his most remarkable contributions to culture studies.
Nella Larsen was an American novelist who also worked as a librarian and nurse. Among her literary work were her novels, Quicksand and Passing; the latter was adapted into a film of the same name in 2021. Larsen's work has gained renewed interest since the 20th century. Today, she is recognized as the most important novelist of the Harlem Renaissance.
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis was a Brazilian novelist, playwright, poet, and short-story writer. Hailing from a family of freed slaves, he had a difficult childhood that he overcame to become a famous writer. He founded the Brazilian Academy of Letters and became the organization’s first president. He is credited with having shaped the realism movement in Brazil.
Distinguished Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri OBE FRSL is counted among the leading African authors in the post-modern and post-colonial traditions. His 1991 novel The Famished Road led him to become the youngest-ever winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Other notable works of Okri includes A Way of Being Free, A Time for New Dreams and Starbook.
Apparently, Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat, known for books such as Breath, Eyes, Memory, had begun writing to escape the bullying she faced because of her Haitian ways after she moved to the U.S. as a young girl. Although her parents wanted her to study medicine, she took up French literature.
Nigerian-born novelist Buchi Emecheta OBE, who was based in the UK since 1962, gained critical-acclaim and recognition for her literary works with themes including child-slavery, female independence, motherhood and freedom through education. Notable works of Emecheta include novels like Second Class Citizen, The Bride Price, The Joys of Motherhood and The Slave Girl. The latter won her Jock Campbell Award.
One of the most influential Sudanese authors, Tayeb Salih was born into a farming community and had thus aspired to work in agriculture. However, he became a journalist later and worked with al Majalla and BBC. His works such as The Wedding of Zein mirror the intricacies of African life.
Nuruddin Farah is a Somali novelist best known for his book, From a Crooked Rib. Widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of his generation, Farah has received several prestigious awards, such as the Kurt Tucholsky Prize, Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and Lettre Ulysses Award. Nuruddin Farah has also received several nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Yasmina Khadra is an Algerian author who writes in French. Khadra has published his novels in over 50 countries and is widely regarded as one of the most popular Algerian novelists in the world. Some of his novels have been adapted into films. Yasmina Khadra is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Henri Gal Literature Grand Prize.