8 young badass women of African Literature you should be crushing on

8 young badass women of African Literature you should be crushing on


Helen Oyeyemi


Are you in need of some funny, beautiful, brave, soulful, and clever women from African literature who have won the hearts of readers?

Here are some attractive young badass women of African Literature that you should totally start crushing on.

And of course, if you think I left out a particularly crush-worthy woman, please let me know in the comments!

1. Helen Oyeyemi

I am a huge fan of Helen Oyeyemi and she is the youngest on this list. Born 10 December 1984, Oyeyemi, a Nigerian wrote her first novel, The Icarus Girl, while still at school studying for her A levels. In 2013 she was included in the Granta Best Young British Novelists list.

She has 5 published novels to her credit (The Icarus Girl (2005), The Opposite House (2007), White is for Witching (2009), Mr Fox (2011) and Boy, Snow, Bird (2014).

Read: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi [Review]

2. NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet whose real name is Elizabeth Zandile Tshele was born 12 October 1981. She is a Zimbabwean author whose debut novel entitled We Need New Names was released in 2013, and was included in the 2013 Man Booker Prizeshortlist. This made her the first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

She also won the Etisalat Prize for Literature and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award among other accolades.

Related: 10 quotes from ‘We Need New Names’ by NoViolet Bulawayo

3. Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste born 1971, is an Ethiopian-American writer.  Her debut novel, the award-winning Beneath the Lion’s Gaze was named one of the 10 best contemporary African books by The Guardian. Mengiste is a Fulbright Scholar and World Literature Today’s 2013 Puterbaugh Fellow.

She has so many awards to her credit including an NAACP Image Award, and an Indies Choice Book of the Year Award.

4. Adaobi Tricia Obinne Nwaubani

Adaobi (born in 1976) is a Nigerian and the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to have got an international book deal while still living in Nigeria (her home country).

Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to you by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a Betty Trask First Book award, and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009.

5. Lola Shoneyin

Born 26 February 1974, Titilola Atinuke Alexandrah Shoneyin is a Nigerian poet and author who whose debut novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, was Longlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize. The book also won the 2011 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award and won two Association of Nigerian Authors Awards.

Lola is married to Olaokun Soyinka, a medical doctor and the son of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka.

RELATED: 10 quotes from “The secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives” by Lola Shoneyin

6. Lauren Beukes

The only lightskinned African on the list, Lauren Beukes is a South African novelist, short story writer, journalist and television scriptwriter. Born 5 June 1976, She is the author of The Shining Girls a book that won The Strand Magazine Critic’s Best Novel Award, the RT Thriller of the Year, Exclusive Books’ Readers Choice Award, and South Africa’s most prestigious literary award, The University of Johannesburg Prize.

The TV rights for the novel have been acquired by MRC and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way according to The Hollywood Reporter.

7. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda is perhaps the most popular contemporary African author. Born 15 September 1977, Adichie is a Nigerian novelist, nonfiction writer and short story writer. Her third novel, Americanah (2013), was selected by the New York Times as one of The 10 Best Books of 2013.

Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), received wide critical acclaim; it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prizefor Best First Book (2005).

Read: 10 things you may not Know about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

8. Petina Gappah

Petina Gappah born 1971, is a Zimbabwean-born writer whose first book, An Elegy for Easterly, a story collection, has been described as “a collection of stories about every layer of Zimbabwean culture. It was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and it also won the Guardian First Book Award in 2009.


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