Skip to Main Content

Africa: Revealed Through Literature: Novels & Short Stories

Get to know African peoples and their cultures through their own writings

 Helmet Mask, before 1800, Bamum tribe, Cameroon. 


One way to learn about peoples and cultures is through literature, their stories, novels, poetry and plays. Through these things we can get at least glimpses, and in many cases, pretty clear pictures, of the lives and thought worlds of groups of people.

With this in mind, this webpage is designed to help faculty members and students in African Studies discover literary resources by black African writers which are owned by or accessible through the Gumberg Library, and which can be useful in learning about peoples from all over Africa. Some of the works are traditional paper books, while others are available electronically. These are only a selection of books available. More can be found by searching the online catalog. We hope you will find the suggestions we offer helpful.

If you have any suggestions as to literary works by and about Africans which the Gumberg Library should add to its collection, please feel free to suggest them. You can use the Library materials request form to do this. Click the link below to use this form.

Suggest a Purchase Form

Image: Helmet Mask, before 1800, Bamum tribe, Cameroon. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Used under CC-A-SA-2.5-G. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Learn About the Authors

Two Gumberg databases will help you learn more about the authors of the books on this research guide: Contemporary Authors and the Literature Resource Center. Click on a link below to enter a database, then type the author's name in the search box and click Search.

To access these databases off-campus, you will need to enter your Multipass username and password when you click on the database link.


African Writers Series logo

A Major Electronic Resource

The African Writers Series (AWS) was established in 1962, with the aim of publishing works by black African authors for a general readership in newly independent African nations. It went on to become the principal publishing outlet for new African writing, covering mainly fiction, but also non-fiction, poetry and drama; all the major African authors of the post-independence period were published in the AWS, alongside new editions of classic earlier texts, important political writings, and new works by generations of young authors from the 1960s to the early 21st century.

To enter the African Writers Series database, click on the image above or the link below. You will be taken to an alphabetically-arranged list of all the Chadwick-Healy literary databases accessed by the Gumberg Library. Find African Writers Series in the list and click on the title to be taken to that database. If you want to use this database off-campus, when you click on the name of the database, you will be asked for your Multipass information. Once you enter that, you will be taken to the search interface for the African Writers Series.

If you want to access the African Writers Series off-campus, you will need to enter your Multipass information when you click on the link below. Then you will be able to enter the database.

 Access the African Writers Series

Novels: Cameroon

In each of the boxes on this page, some of the books are electronically available and some are traditional paper books.

For those electronically available, you will see the phrase "Electronic Book" in parenthesis after the title. To read them, click on the title. If you want to read any of them off-campus, you will need to enter your Multipass information when you click on the title.

You can tell which are traditional paper books because after the title and author information the call number and location will be given.


Novels: Ghana

Novels: Kenya

Novels: Nigeria

Novels: Somalia

Novels: Tanzania

Need Help?

If at any time you need help with using Gumberg Library resources, please contact Ted Bergfelt, Humanities Librarian, via email or by phone at 412-426-5430, 8:30 am-4:30 pm ET, Monday-Friday. If he is not available, Ask Gumberg