We look back at the literary scene in 2022 with a two-part series starting with those who left us in 2022 and winners of literary competitions across Africa and its diaspora.

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.

For 2022, we continue our look back at the year in a two-part series: the first part is a look at those who passed away followed by the winners of literary awards. In the second part of the series, we look at the books of 2022 as well as the literary festivals.

Part 1


Some of those who left us and became our literary ancestors were Egyptian novelist and short story writer Bahaa Taher; Sierra Leonean librarian, novelist, and biographer Yema Lucilda Hunter; South African poet, author, and anti-apartheid activist Don Mattera; Nigerian novelist, playwright, and filmmaker Biyi Bandele; Barbadian novelist, essayist, and poet George Lamming; Somaliland writer and scholar Said Jama Hussein; Congolese poet and academic Philippe Masegabio Nzanzu; Kenyan poet and musician Grandmaster Masese; Poet, musician, and South African Literary Awards founder Sindiswa Seakhoa; South African Primrose Mrwebi, Moroccan Driss El Khouri, and South African Valerie Boyd; Congolese publisher, writer, and linguist Bienvenu Sene Mongaba.

Please also check out Arablit.org which lists Authors and Translators Who Left Us in 2022.


2021 was something else for the African literary community as one of us scooped awards at home as well as many of the major awards across Europe and North America. 2022 wasn’t as prolific as writers made do with national awards and pan-African awards as well as some in the diaspora. The following list is based on location with awards in each of the different regions starting with Africa and the Middle East which is divided into continental and national. Continental prizes are those which writers of more than one African nationality are eligible for while national are those only one nation can enter. This is followed by all the awards from The Americas and then Europe. Let us begin.

Africa and the Middle East



The Americas