With Pride Month under way, we wanted to highlight some of the books published within the last 20 years that have sparked culture-shifting conversations around the representation of queer life and experiences in African literature.

Judie Idibia’s Walking with Shadows is the first west African novel centered on a gay protagonist. In Frieda Ekotto’s Don’t Whisper Too Much, romantic love between African women are presented for the first time in a positive light. Akwaeke Emezi’s Death of Vivek Oji published last year builds on the conversation around trans experiences opened up in Olumide Popoola’s When You Speak of Nothing.

Anthologies have been key to opening up space in the publishing industry for queer African writing. Queer Africa is a multi-volume work that began curating African queer voices since 2013. In 2018, La Bastarda, the first novel by an Equatoguinean woman to be translated into English, has been hailed as “an invaluable contribution to lesbian and gay literary culture.” Buki Papillon’s An Ordinary Wonder is significant for being the first Nigerian novel to center an intersex character.

We hope the lists helps you enrich your TBR list, and make sure to pass it on to friends and family.