Former U.S. President Barack Obama has recommended Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah among six books for the 2018 Summer reading list.
Obama took to his Twitter handle to announce the six all-African authored books ahead of his first visit to Africa since leaving office on Jan. 20, 2017, which would take him to Kenya and South Africa.
Obama wrote: “Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. 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.
“Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 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”.
The other books suggested by the former U.S. leader included A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.
The first Black U.S. president born to a Kenyan father, described Africa as “a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories”.
The 44th U.S. president also announced the launch of a civic leadership programme by the Obama Foundation after selecting 200 rising leaders from 44 African countries, holding on July 14 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Obama wrote: “This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories.
“I was proud to visit sub-Saharan Africa more times than any other sitting President, and I’ll return this week to visit Kenya and South Africa.
“In South Africa, the Obama Foundation will convene 200 extraordinary young leaders from across the continent and I’ll deliver a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.
“Kenya, of course, is the Obama ancestral home. I visited for the first time when I was in my twenties and I was profoundly influenced by my experiences – a journey I wrote about in my first book, Dreams from My Father.
“Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition.
“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”.
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