Top 10 African Authors of All Time

The pace of present African literature is moving at a high-speed, style and tone sexier and defiant than the great independence writers’ generation. Here, the subjects of taboo are widely explored. The emerging African authors of this generation are not afraid to go further afield for the literary fodder. Since the birth of literature in Africa, there have been a number of African authors from all over the continent who have done a lot in the literature industry.

1. Chinua Achebe

Chinua-Achebe - African Authors

Image via Achebebooks

Chinua Achebe is one of the best African authors who have contributed a lot in the field of African literature. He was born in 1930, and schooled at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His first groundbreaking novel titled ‘Things Fall Apart” was published in 1958. This novel made Chinua Achebe very popular and it was then translated to over 50 languages due to its high demand. Later, he served as the professor of David and Marianna Fisher University as well as a professor of African Studies at the Brown University in the Providence, Rhode Island. He died early 2013 at the age of 82 years old, in Boston, Massachusetts.

2. Wole Soyinka

soyinka - African Authors

Wole Soyinka is also one of the great heroes in the list of top and best African authors who have won great awards and honours in the world of literature. He was born in 1934 in Nigeria and he became the first African author to be awarded the Nobel Prize award in literature. Late 1950’s, he wrote his very first important play titled ‘A Dance of the Forests’ that satirizes a fledgling nation by highlighting that the present days is no longer a golden age than was in the past. In some cases, his writing focuses on the modern West Africa in a style of satire, but his belief and serious intent in the evils fundamentals in the practice of power are common in his present work.

3. Amos Tutuola

Amos_tutuola - African Authors

Amos Tutuola was born in 1920, Abeokuta in Western Nigeria and died in 1997. He was a self-taught African author who usually focused his literature on the Yoruba folk tales. He became popular after gaining the world fame with his best story ‘The Palm-Wine Drunkard’ that completed in 1946.

4. Camera Laye


Camera Laye was born in 1928 in Kouroussa, Upper Guinea and later died in 1980. He was the first African author from a French-speaking African country. His French novel “L’Enfant noir” made him one of the best and important novelists from the French-speaking country in Africa.

5. Dinaw Mengestu

dinaw - African Authors

Dinaw Mengestu was also one of the best African authors who have contributed greatly in the field of African literature. He was born in 1978 in Addis Ababa the capital city of Ethiopia. He moved to the USA together with his sister and mother two years after his birth, to reunite with his father who had previously fled the country during the Red Terror. He graduated from Georgetown University. So far, he has written two novels titled “The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears” which was established in 2007 and “How to Read the Air” established in 2010. He also recently received a MacArthur Foundation, usually known as “genius grant”.