Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List Features Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chinua Achebe

Yesterday, Barack Obama released his annual summer reading recommendations, which include the works of Nigeria”s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chinua Achebe.

Posting on his Facebook yesterday, the former United States president said he would be traveling to Africa this week ― “a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories” ― for the first time since he left the White House, and it is all thanks of Africa’s literary tradition.

“I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition,” he wrote, adding, “As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers ― each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.”

Of the six books on his list, five are set in Africa, and they include Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Return by Hisham Matar and The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes.

Describing Adichie’s Americanah, he said: “From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.”

And describing Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, he said: “A true classic of world literature, this novel paints a picture of traditional society wrestling with the arrival of foreign influence, from Christian missionaries to British colonialism. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.”

See his post here.

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