Sally Bissell

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Beyond the Door of No Return

This affecting historical novel, enhanced with traces of magical realism, raises thoughtful questions for discussion groups, reminiscent of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing.

My Beloved Life

Storytelling as a key to understanding one’s past, whether far or not so distant, is at the heart of this intergenerational historical novel. Recommend to admirers of Isabel Allende, Yaa Gyasi, or Min Jin Lee.


This highly original, exceedingly complex novel might frustrate bibliophiles who prefer a linear storyline but will thrill those who revel in intoxicating language.

Innards: Stories

Soweto-born Makhene uses her unique voice to characterize South Africa much as Ben Okri does for Nigeria or NoViolet Bulwayo for Zimbabwe. Her debut collection is necessarily difficult and disturbingly intense, as any stories of life under apartheid must be, but careful reading will unearth kernels of the inherent resilience and humor of her people.

The Nigerwife

British poet and playwright Walters, once a Nigerwife herself, paints a vivid picture of the financial and social constraints that European women face assimilating into Nigerian familial structure. Already optioned for HBO, this cultural critique couched in a mystery is a sure winner.

And Then He Sang a Lullaby

This inaugural title in Roxane Gay’s new imprint with Grove Atlantic is a compelling, mature work of narrative grace.

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa

Buoro, a Booker Foundation Scholarship recipient, deftly blends low-brow humor with sophisticated religious and literary references, elevating this highly anticipated novel to a poignant lament for a country and its children.

Daughter in Exile

Whether or not Lola’s experiences limn the author’s own, Adjapon’s (The Teller of Secrets) crackling dialogue and barbed humor feel close to the bone. Themes of classism, racism, and fierce feminism will appeal to book groups and readers of Mbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers or Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s Americanah.

Ghost Season

Hopeful and despairing in equal measure, Abbas takes readers on an emotional roller coaster, employing her protagonists as metaphor for Sudan’s possibilities if it was not mired in poverty, hunger, and tribal rivalries. A propulsive read; highly recommended.

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