Barcelona Libraries recommend

Sant Jordi is when writers, books and Reader take to the streets. It’s on Sant Jordi that people discover an author, fall in love with a book and become enthralled with a story. This year, to mark the opening speech that will be given by the Mozambican writer, Mia Couto, Barcelona’s libraries have prepared a selection of books from African and other literature with Africa as their central focus. We have highlighted a collection of writers, hailing from several African countries, with remarkable narratives that stirred out emotions and which will stir yours too. Discover Africa this Sant Jordi.

Book cover El que es digno de ser amado by Abdelá Taia

El que es digno de ser amado

Abdellah Taïa

Ahmed is 40 years old, lives in Paris and is Moroccan.
He writes to his mother, who has been dead for five years, to settle the outstanding issues between them and finally tell her that he is gay.
An epistolary novel.

Madrid: Cabaret Voltaire, 2018

Book cover Las mujeres hablan mucho y mal by Trifonia Melibea Obono

Las mujeres hablan mucho y mal

Trifonia Melibea Obono

My mother always cried at night. She always cried. She cried in secret. She cried with the ducks and the hens, but she never cried with the cockerels or the goats.
We, the girls, helped my mother cry until she died. She cried in sadness.

Madrid: Sial, 2018

Book cover El baobab loco by Ken Bugul

The Abandoned Baobab (Spanish edition)

Ken Bugul

At the age of 5, Ken is abandoned by her mother, who leaves their home. At around this time, a French school opens up in the village and Ken becomes the first woman in her family to go to school.

Tenerife: Baile del Sol, 2018

Book cover Olvidos by Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo

Olvidos

Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo

Maybe, one day, I’ll know everything, almost.
And I’ll tell you, my friend, in a single whisper,
so you will remember how much I loved you.
Wordlessly.

Madrid: Verbum, 2016

Book cover from El perfume francés by Amir Tag al-Sir

El perfume francés

Amir Tag al-Sir

A French researcher arrives in an impoverished and marginalised neighbourhood of a Sudanese city, full of outlandish characters, to conduct a study. The characters’ behaviour is altered by the rumours of her arrival.

Albolote (Granada): Comares, 2017

Book cover from La reina Ginga: y de como los africanos inventaron el mundo by José Eduardo Agualusa

La reina Ginga: y de como los africanos inventaron el mundo

José Eduardo Agualusa

A determined warrior and a cunning and clearheaded ruler, she rebuilt her kingdom several times, she commanded armies, she fought against the great powers and against other African monarchs, and she had a passionate and insatiable private life.

Barcelona: Edhasa, 2019

Book cover from Moral Tales (Spanish edition) by  J.M. Coetzee

Moral Tales (Spanish edition)

J. M. Coetzee

Each of these tales is like a jigsaw puzzle that seems to take you somewhere else but ends up putting you back in front of your own reality. They make you rethink the consequences of everyday decisions.

Barcelona: Literatura Random House, 2018

Book cover from Sleepwalking Land (Catalan edition) by Mia Couto

Sleepwalking Land (Catalan edition)

Mia Couto

Fleeing from the violence that is destroying Mozambique, the old Tuahir and the young Muidinga, a boy who can’t remember his past, seek shelter in a burnt bus. Inside, they find a set of notebooks that tell the life of one of the dead.

Barcelona: Edicions del Periscopi, 2018

Book cover from Sleepwalking Land (Catalan edition) by Mia Couto

Mozambique Trilogy: Sands of the Emperor (Spanish edition)

Mia Couto

This is the story of the ambition and downfall of Emperor Ngungunyane, king of the State of Gaza, in Mozambique. It is also the story of Imani, a young Vachopi girl born in the mid-19th century.

Barcelona: Alfaguara, 2018

Book cover from We need new names (Spanish edition) by NoViolet Bulawayo

We need new names (Spanish edition)

NoViolet Bulawayo

The story starts in a shanty town called Paradise, 10-year-old Darling’s domain. Life is a strange and fascinating game in which moments of innocent happiness mix with the cruelty of the environment.

Barcelona: Salamandra, 2018

Book cover from The Tears of the Black Man (Spanish edition) by Alain Mabanckou

The Tears of the Black Man (Spanish edition)

Alain Mabanckou

In The Tears of the Black Man, the author gives us a magnificent and thought-provoking reflection on the identity and false myths of Africa and Europe.

Madrid: Catarata, 2017

Book cover from Collective Amnesia (Spanish edition) by Koleka Putuma

Collective Amnesia (Spanish edition)

Koleka Putuma

Through grief and memory, pain and joy, sex and self-care, Collective Amnesia is an appraisal, reminder and revelation of everything South African society has ignored and relegated to oblivion.

Madrid: Flores Raras, 2018

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