We look back at the literary scene in 2022 in the second of a two-part series; in this post, we look at the new books from the continent and the literary festivals we covered.

In 2016, we here at James Murua Literary introduced what we called the “Outstanding African Literary Awards” where we gave you a look at the year with a focus on the best of the best in all categories we could imagine.  It was our way of summarising what had happened in the past year in a light-hearted way. We have continued with our top picks for 20172018, and 2019.

In 2020, we opted to give it a more proper title in “Top Picks for 2020” which is more representative of what we are doing followed by the same in 2021 where African writers did the most in the award scene.

Part 2


The African literary scene produced many books for your reading pleasure. So many books that websites that cover the scene have been able to do best-of-the-year lists while leaving out some just from the sheer volume. Our friends from Brittle Paper gave us their 100 significant books of 2022 while Open Country gave us their 60 Notable Books of 2022. If you consider that just a decade ago and beyond, we could only imagine such a volume of high-quality books, the future looks really promising.

Here are JamesMurua.com, we did also cover some of the books that came out in 2022 with our focus going across the continent and the diaspora written in many languages in our new books section. Some of the ones we featured this year were Resonanzen. Schwarzes Literaturfestival edited by Sharon Dodua Otoo, Dieu Est Un Garçon Noir à Lunettes by Kayo Mpoyi, An Angel’s Demise by Sue Nyathi, The Island: Stories by Dionne Irving, Unfinished Business by Leye Adenle, The Furrows By Namwali Serpell, Quand on n’a que la terre Et autres recueils by Abdourahman Waberi, Le feu du Milieu by Touhfat Mouhtare, Love Radio by Ebony Ladelle, How to Write About Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina, Le Peine de L’eau by Monique Severin, The Release of Saro by Nike Campbell, Ta Le, Book 1: Knowledge by Yessoh G.D, A Fire Within And Other Stories edited by Mathew Sang, Muthoni Garland, Something in the Water: The Blood Beats Series edited by Anathi Jongilanga and Moso Sematlane, Voices That Sing Behind The Veil: Anthology of Short Stories from Africa and the Diaspora Paperback edited by Ivor Agyeman-Duah, A possible future: Best of Nigerian writings anthology published by Farafina, Hɔmɔwɔ: Ga Lalawiemɔi edited by Nikitta Dede Adjirakor, No Edges: Swahili Stories edited by Sarah Coolidge, Rain Dance: The Afritondo Anthology edited by Allwell Uwazuruike, Munachim Amah, Confidence Uwazuruike, Cocoaïans by Gauz, Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro, Harry Sylvester Bird by Chinelo Okparanta, The Feeling House by Saleh Addonia, Girls That Never Die by Safia Elhillo, Like Butterflies Scattered About by Art Rascals by Umar Abubakar Sidi, Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi, Devil’s Pawn by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, Consolée by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse, When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Nampula: Antologia de hi-es-tórias de uma cidade vibrante edited by Jessemusse Cacinda, Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu, Espíritos Quânticos: uma jornada por histórias de África em ficção especulativa edited by Virgilia Ferrao, Ambatomanga, Le silence et la douleur by Michele Rakotoson, RACE RELATIONS – ESSAYS ÜBER RASSISMUS by Michaela Dudley, News at Noon by Anietie Isong, A Perfect Score by Clifford Chianga Oluoch, Broken Halves of a Milky Sun by Aaiún Nin, Broken Halves of a Milky Sun by Aaiún Nin, Even When Your Voice Shakes by Ruby Yayra Goka, Affection and other Accidents by Dami Ajayi, Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire, The Butterfly Jungle by Diriye Osman, Anasi and the Golden Pot by Taiye Selasi (Illustrated by Tinuke Fagborun), Two Tons O’fun by Fred Khumalo, Female Fear Factory: Unravelling Patriarchy’s Cultures of Violence by Pumla Dineo Gqola, Breaking The Maafa Chain by Anni Domingo, Blue by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond (Illustrated by Daniel Minter).


The heart of the African literary community, where readers and writers converge in a relaxed space, has to be the literary festival or book fair. For 2022, we tracked festivals and fairs across the continent in countries like Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Chad, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Mali, Namibia, Somaliland, Senegal as well as in the diaspora in spaces as diverse as St Martins, Belgium, Brazil, Austria, Germany, USA and the UK. It was a good showing in the first full year “post covid.”

The festivals we covered on this website were;