Saturday, June 20, 2009

Naming Game: Who are your Favourite Writers?

We believe on Bookaholic that one of the secrets to being a fantastic writer is to read about good writers (their works and interviews); we snooped out this one for you...

Pambazuka interviews Binyajavanga Wanaina, Kenyan founding editor of Kwani here; he talks about many things including his desire to start an online course in Creative Writing soon. When asked for five favourite authors, Binyavanga mentioned six:

  • Kojo Laing, writer of Search Sweet Country, the greatest novel to come out of Africa.
  • Saul Bellow – love his riff and sentences...
  • Ahmadou Kourouma, Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote, was a beautifully structured novel, and worked sooo well.
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun, is a book of true commitment and love – I love many things about it, most of all I love the idea of somebody writing about Biafra, which happened after she was born. A huge task, fraught with risks, but she did it.
  • Chinua Achebe – I love all his work, feel very privileged to work with him at Bard College.
  • Witold Gombrowicz – love his absurd, dense books, with so many tiny human and natural transactions…
Who are your favourite writers? Let us know on Bookaholic...


  1. This is too interesting not to bell the cat and also to encourage you all to also do so.

    Toni Morrison: Because she empowers prose to take you out of the pages of a book and virtually grip you by the neck till you are through.

    Khaled Hosseini: he's a very compassionate writer; takes you into the world of his characters and you shed a tear or two, or laugh out loud once in a while.

    Chimamanda Adichie: I dreamt about Kainene after reading 'Half of a Yellow Sun'

    Buchi Emecheta: hilarious and beautiful writer, very feminist too!

    Last but not the least: Ben Okri: makes me escape and shows that there is indeed a thin line between what is and what may be...

    There are more fantastic writers but the rule says five...

  2. its funny how BINYAVANGA inspired this post, he definitely makes my list, his power of description makes me read his words over and over again and just marvel...
    CYPRIAN EKWENSI; i grew up loving his books, loving the simplicity of his style.
    SOYINKA; his autobiographies are some of my favourite books in the world.
    TONI KAN; i want to be like him when i grow up. lol; he is my favourite short story writer.
    CHIMAMANDA; i must have read purple hibiscus about 5 or six tyms now.

  3. ARUNDHATI ROY: Her only novel is magical. Her sense of creating imageries, symbols and metaphor is charming. I've read The God of Small Things over 50 times. It's technicality and the playfullness of the language is daring.

    SALMAN RUSHDIE: He's one author who knows how to rework a theme and he does so with intense maturity. His coinage of words and the sparse characters he creates amazes me. He will live long.

    GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ: He has a way with sentences and describes very well...

    JUDE DIBIA: I keep thinking, 'How does he do this?' Walking with Shadows was not experimental in language, but the storyline is deeply experimental and this book has endeared me to him as a reader. I'm awaiting his third book.

    WOLE SOYINKA: His personality I so much admire.

    KHALED HOSSEINI: I think I will be counting in this Afghan author. I read The Kite Runner long ago and just got A Thousand Splendid Suns and he confirms to be a serious writer. The writing is very natural and unpretentious...

  4. ENID BLYTON-I love her to imagination really grew and I was hooked! I wanted her books as presents, I'd read them colour them, re read them and when I had money buy them.

    TONI KAN-I am so loving him at the moment. He tells real stories without too much 'literary effizy'. His poetry is easy to read and relate to, I love his style and can't wait for his novel!

    CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE-I have read all three of her books and I have not been disappointed. She is literary yet very accessible. I love the the imagery in her works...the nature element and her attention to detail is just right!

    BRONTE sisters-I love their books, even though set ina different period, humans don't really change when it comes to life issues like love and all. Jane Eyre also inspired Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, a really good book.

    LOUISA MAY ALCOTT-Little Women, the tv adaptation was on point. Now I need to read the real deal.

  5. Maya Angelou: My best ever. I can so relate to her poetry. Her autobiography books are wonderful. As I read, I can almost transport myself to the scene of the story, it really comes alive. She's very funny and very real. I become totally oblivious of where I am and just get lost in her story.

    Ngugi Wa Thiong'O: Master story teller. Just love the Wizard of the Crow. Satirical in and out, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

    Ama Ata Aidoo: The way she writes about the issues the West African woman faces, it's such a pleasure to read, I can just get lost in the book.

    Ted Dekker: Man, when you pick one of his books up, you just can't put it down, he just takes you to another world and you dive right into it. Mystical, magical, psychological thriller all in one!

    Buchi Emechetta: Second Class Citizen. Yet another woman telling the plight of the African woman. Very easy writing and endearing. I love her.

  6. have got quite a number of favourite authors,some for their styles, some for purely their sense of humour and some because i read them at a very young age and that was how i fell in love with here goes:

    IFEOMA OKOYE:Chimere, Behind The Clouds.I remember reading these two books at quite a young age,and was always moved to tears each time i read them(don't usually read a book more than once,but there's something about her style that's very humane,real and deep.

    BUCHI EMECHETA: Second Class Citizen,can't remember exactly how old i was when i first read this book,but i know i was less than nine,it was there i first read that non-whites were called COLOURED,that stuck with me cos i remembered reading it as "colour-red" lol.

    ELECHI AMADI: The Concubine,i just love his simplistic yet unique style of writing.His stories stay with you long after you've read them.

    STELLA OSAMMOR: The Triumph of The Waterlily, beautiful, beautiful piece of work.I always recommend having a box of tissue beside you when reading this book,it will move you.

    DOUGLAS KENNEDY: The Pursuit Of Happiness(not related to the movie).This was his first book i read and i fell in love with him straight away...still amazes me how a man can write all his novels about women in such a pure,deep and intriguing manner.

    MARIAN KEYES: I love her purely for her sense of humour. She's the only author i know that can write about death, loss and pain (Anyone Out There) and still have you laughing your insides out,albeit teary ones.

    ok,i better stop now,cos i'm afraid i'm going to use up all the space for comments :-)

  7. Changes with almost every book.

    Margaret Atwood- every single one of her books is like a beautiful present to unwrap.

    Kate Atkinson- Love, love love the intelligence and creativity.

    Ian McEwan- Wonderful, wonderful.

    Kazuo Ishiguro- Never Let Me Go is a book that has literally never let me go.

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  9. Listing just five is definitely going to be a challenge considering how eclectic my taste is, but the books I will never give away will probably include (but not be limited to ):

    Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe (the greatest book ever!)

    Roots – Alex Haley

    Icarus Agenda – Robert Ludlum

    A Day Late, a Dollar Short – Terry Mcmillan (slightly frivolous possibly but I love it!)

    The Thornbirds – Colleen McCullough (another frivolous book, I’m sorry!)

    Famished Road – Ben Okri

    @Hawt lol at the colour-red from Buchi Emecheta, I’ll never forget reading her novel on the Bride Price. I was about 11 and was fascinated by the mystic connection between Akunna’s death and the rejection of her bride price. It was the first time I learnt that the people regarded as ‘osu’ actually ended up more successful than the ‘free born’. I had encountered the same thing when I read ‘Things Fall Apart’ when I was about 8. I didn’t quite understand the title until I read it again when I was a few years older. Okonkwo’s reaction to the loss of the world he knew and dominated is a recurring emotion in life. Fascinating how it was captured in words

  10. I love Buch Emecheta(especially second class citizen) her descriptive ability is on point you feel like you are in the story!I just got bride price from my library and i am reading it now!
    Elechi Amadi...i am a sucker for Igbo settings (even thought i am yoruba)...i liked concubine,the slave and i cant rem the name of the other one i read
    Chinua Achebe,things fall apart is a classic... cyprian Ekwensi,Helen Obviagele,May Ellen Ezekiel...too many too mention...
    Who remembers the pace setters series?loved them
    i love naija authors..i must say i am not a fan of Wole Soyinka....yeah i know!!!

  11. Wole Soyinka is not that bad. True, his poetry can be very obscure and ambiguous, like only he knows what he is writing....however, his prose and drama are very easy to read. I especially love his autobiographies. Still relishing 'We must set forth at Dawn'.

  12. my favourite writers are Paulo Coelho and Richard Bach....legendary!