Top Writers in New African 100 most influential list.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

The New African magazine has published its highly regarded 100 Hundred Most Influential Africans 2014 and it has some of what the team who run the publication considers the Africans to watch in 2014. The list is segmented into different categories like politics, media, arts and culture, business and more. A few of the writers that we have been covering on this blog have made the list this year and they and how they have been described in the magazine are;

  1. Wole Soyinka – Nigeria’s national conscience.
  2. Teju Cole – The Teju Cole of Teju Cole.
  3. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o – The literary giant.
  4. Tolu Ogunlesi – Award winning journalist, comedy writer and poet.
  5. Binyavanga Wainaina – The Imagination Catalyst.
  6. Chimamanda Adichie – The happy feminist.
  7. Noviolet Bulawayo – The young author who won’t stop winning awards.
  8. Fatou Diome – The adventurer away from home.
  9. Yvonne Adhiambo Owour – The novelist sprinkled with stardust.

Wole Soyinka and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o are no surprise as they are currently the elder statesmen of the African writing game and failing to see their names on such a list would leave it with serious questions around it.

Then there are the folks who have taken over the game in a huge way. Chimamanda Adichie is the most talked about African writer right now and with good reason; awards, movies from one of her books, referenced by Beyonce Knowles the American singer type person in her music. Also in that caliber is Binyavanga Wainaina who has a memoir and awards and an ability to bring vociferous discussions whenever he brings about a new viewpoint.

Teju Cole is a brilliant writer; one of the best I have read in the last five years and he has many other skills. Also in there is Noviolet Bulawayo who has been winning like crazy in the last few years.

Tolu Ogunlesi and Fatou Diome have not been read by this blogger so that give me homework to find out more about their work.

I am most chuffed about Yvonne Adhiambo Oduor being on this list. The framers of the list described her as “the novelist sprinkled with stardust” as this I believe she is one the best writers to have come out of Kenya probably in a generation. And sadly I have a feeling that it might be a while before we see another of her books.

2 Replies to “Top Writers in New African 100 most influential list.”

  1. interesting! As an avid African Lit blogger myself, I have read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I totally agree that she is terrific writer, one of my favourite, I have read all of her published works. Noviolet Bulawayo impressed with her first novel… I hope she continues to do so.
    I know Wole Soyinka, Teju Cole, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Binyavanga Wainaina but have not read any of their works. I am afraid they might be too literary for my liking.

    The name Fatou Diome and Yvonne Adhiambo Owour are somewhat new to me.

    However, not sure how influential they are now, I think there are some other incredible African writers that should be included in the list. The likes of Ben Okri, Leila Aboulela, Bessie Head, Buchi EMecheta, Chinua Achebe even Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond her first novel was really promising, Sarah Ladipo Manyinka and Yaba Badoe.

    1. Thanks for the comment Charming Yellow. Some of these authors that you mention are really good. Even the dead Bessie Head. I suspect however, that the folks at New African magazine were concerned not with the quality of the work alone but also the buzz they had over the year that made them so inluential. These seven folks fit that bill perfectly.

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