The New African’s 100 most influential Africans list 2016 include a healthy number of those in the book business from all corners of the continent. The fill list was done with the help of guest editor Bibi Bakare-Yusuf and includes Alain Mabankou. Hawa Jande Golakai, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Roye Okupe, Thando Mgqolozana, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ntone Idjabe, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Imbolo Mbue, Ainehi Edoro, and Safia Elhilo. Here they are in short.
Thando Mgqolozana was famous as an author of no mean repute with A Man Is Not A Man, Hear Me Alone and Unimportance. His reign of literary relaxation was disturbed when he caused all manner of trauma in the South African literary scene when declared that he would no longer be attending what he termed as “literary colonial festivals.” He then put together a kickass team with Panashe Chigumadzi to set up Abantu Book Festival that ended last Saturday.
Alain Mabanckou who recently made a starring appearance at the Ake Festival is is a novelist, journalist, poet, and academic. They French citizen born in the Republic of the Congo, he is currently a Professor of Literature at UCLA. His most recent book is the travelogue The Lights of Pointe-Noire.
Hawa Jande Golakai is a Liberian immunologist and writer with two books following the adventures of investigative journalist Voinjama “Vee” Joinson with the first The Lazaus Effect and her newest The Score. She was spotted at both the Lagos Book and Arts Fair and the recently ended Abantu Book Festival.
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is a Zimbabwe-born editor and literary critic. She is a former Deputy Editor of Granta and former Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House. She is on the board as either a member or chair of some of the most influential literary organisations including Caine Prize for African Writing, Etisalat Prize for Literature and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Roye Okupe is a creative specialist who holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in computer science from The George Washington University. His passion for animation led him to found YouNeek Studios in 2012, an avenue that would allow him pursue his dream of creating a diverse library of superheroes. Below is a trailer of the product.
Fiston Mwanza Mujila burst onto the scene when he won this year’s Etisalat Prize for Africa Literature 2016 for his irreverent book Tram 83.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. If the list didn’t have the name it would have quickly become invalid.
Ntone Edjabe is a Cameroonian writer, journalist, DJ and founding editor of Chimurenga magazine.
Imbolo Mbue got a million dollar book deal for her book Behold The Dreamers.
Ainehi Edoro holds a doctorate in English from Duke University is as an Assistant Professor Marquette University English faculty in the USA. Ainehi is the founder of Brittle Paper is a virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.
Safia Elhilo is a poet whose first full-length collection, The January Children, is forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press in 2017.