The African Writers and Poets squads to the World Cup 2018.

The FIFA World Cup 2018 is here and we again present the African Writers and Poets World Cup squads we would send to represent us in Russia. This year we have a poetry, prose and nonfiction squad headed to the European country.

It’s not as frenetic as the World Cup that we witnessed in South Africa eight years ago, has it been that long, but like night follows day, it’s another year of tears and joy for African football lovers. With online sports predictions promising a bonanza for those who take part, you have to wonder what kind of team the African literary fraternity would send if they were given the opportunity. Like the Fantasy Football enthusiasts we are, we designed a squad to represent Africa should we need to send a team for a writing world cup four years ago that was very well received.

We are making an attempt again as we imagine who would be in the African writers’ squad in the world cup. This time round we don’t focus on just fiction as poetry and nonfiction get their own squads as we here at recognise that literature is wider than just fiction.

The task is simple. Choose three goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders, five strikers and a coach to send to Russia like in any world cup team. In this instance, the goalies are the ones that ensure that they keep the faith as the last barrier against bad prose or poetry.

The defenders wouldn’t be the ones we keep talking about in the news or blogs but like good defenders do a lot in ensuring that the craft is defended with good prose and/or poetry.

The midfielders would be of two types; the energetic types churning out many good books and supporting the business to have a positive bank balance. These are also the ones you see at festivals either well known or that you may never have heard of but represent the continent’s prose to the fullest.

Strikers are the ones for whom everything they put out is a hit with the critics and the market.

So here we are with the African Writing Squads we would send to Russia. A thank you for those who made contributions when I made the call out a few days ago like our good friends @arablit. If you want to add the list make comments or tweet #AfricanWritingSquad.



Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Lola Shoneyin, Alain Mabanckou.


Amadou Koné, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Véronique Tadjo, José Eduardo Agualusa, Scholastique Mukasonga, Chuma Nwokolo, Zukiswa Wanner.


Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Peter Kimani, Akwaeke Emezi, Niq Mhlongo, Yaa Gyasi, Ayikwei Parkes, Yewande Omotoso, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Imbolo Mbue.


Nnedi Okorafor, Aminatta Forna, Ayobami Adebayo.


Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (Cassava Republic)



Lebo Mashile, Lemn Sissay, Iman Mersal.


Ama Ata Aidoo, Remi Raji, Kama Sywor Kamanda, Abdourahman Waberi, Susan Kiguli, Nimrod Bena Djangrang, Suzanne Tanella Boni, Nick Makoha,


Romeo Oriogun, Tjawangwa Dema, Efe Paul Azino, Kayo Chingonyi, Safia Elhillo, Dami Ajayi, Juliane Okot Bitek, Ladan Osman.


Warsan Shire, Koleka Putuma, Upile Chisala


Kwame Dawes



Pumla Dineo Gqola, Joe Khamisi,


Sihle Khumalo, Mukoma Wa Ngugi, Sabata-mpho Mokae, Okey Ndibe,


Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Emmanuel Iduma, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, Sisonke Msimang, Chike Frankie Edozien, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Donald Molosi, Hannah Pool,


Mona Eltahawy, Teju Cole, Trevor Noah.


Edwige Renee Dro