International Writers’ Day: Celebrating the Powerful Pen and Artistic Brilliance of Black-African Female Writers in the 21st-Century

by Joseph Omoniyi
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Every year on March 3rd, people around the world celebrate writers and their contributions to literacy, information, knowledge expansion, and entertainment. Today is a great opportunity to recognize and appreciate your favorite authors.

The origins of this holiday can be traced back to the International Congress of PEN Club, an organization formed in London in 1921 by poets, essayists, and fiction writers of various genres. Its purpose is to promote mutual support among writers worldwide, including translators, journalists, and historians. The idea of forming this association was proposed by the English writer C.A. Dawson Scott, and its first president was John Galsworthy.

The PEN Club is considered the first NGO ever founded, and among its members were notable writers such as Joseph Conrad, Elisabeth Craig, George Bernard Shaw, and H.G. Wells. This organization proposed the idea of a day dedicated to celebrating writers in 1986, and since then, March 3rd has become an annual occasion to recognize and honor their important contributions to society.

According to Google’s advanced algorithms, there are over 130 million books in the world today, representing a robust knowledge base for humanity.

Writing is a powerful tool, and these writers are masters at wielding it. They have changed the literary world with their unique voices, pushing boundaries, and sparking conversations that challenge societal norms. As we celebrate International Writers’ Day, we cannot forget the contributions of these talented women. Here are the top 10 21st-century black and African female writers.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This Nigerian author has captured the hearts of readers all over the world with her compelling stories of the complexities of life in Africa. Her best-selling novels, such as “Half of a Yellow Sun” and “Americanah,” have won numerous awards and accolades.

Zadie Smith: Born to a Jamaican mother and English father, Smith’s work explores issues of race, identity, and belonging. Her debut novel, “White Teeth,” became an instant classic and has been followed by several other successful novels and collections of essays.

Toni Morrison: Although Morrison passed away in 2019, her legacy as one of the most important writers of the 20th and 21st century lives on. Her novels, such as “Beloved” and “Song of Solomon,” have won the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature, making her the first black woman to receive the latter honor.

Edwidge Danticat: Born in Haiti and raised in the United States, Danticat’s work explores the experiences of Haitian immigrants and the complexities of the Haitian diaspora. Her novels and short stories have won several awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Warsan Shire: This Kenyan-born Somali poet has captured the world’s attention with her powerful and emotional poetry. Her work explores themes of migration, trauma, and identity, and she has been recognized with several awards and accolades, including being named the first Young Poet Laureate of London.

Yaa Gyasi: Born in Ghana and raised in the United States, Gyasi’s debut novel, “Homegoing,” was a critically acclaimed bestseller. Her work explores the experiences of black people throughout history and has been praised for its emotional depth and powerful storytelling.

Roxane Gay: Gay’s work explores issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Her essay collection, “Bad Feminist,” became a cultural phenomenon and she has continued to be a powerful voice in contemporary literature with her novels and essays.

Nnedi Okorafor: This Nigerian-American author has become one of the most popular science fiction and fantasy writers of the 21st century. Her novels, such as “Who Fears Death” and “Akata Witch,” blend African mythology and culture with futuristic worlds, creating unique and exciting stories.

Taiye Selasi: Born in the United Kingdom to a Nigerian mother and Ghanaian father, Selasi’s work explores themes of identity, home, and belonging. Her debut novel, “Ghana Must Go,” was critically acclaimed and she has continued to be a powerful voice in contemporary literature with her essays and short stories.

Chinelo Okparanta: Born in Nigeria and raised in the United States, Okparanta’s work explores the experiences of queer women, particularly those from Nigeria. Her debut novel, “Under the Udala Trees,” was a critically acclaimed bestseller and she has continued to be a powerful voice in contemporary literature with her short stories and essays.

These writers have made an indelible mark on the literary world, using their unique voices to tell powerful stories that challenge and inspire us. They have helped to expand our understanding of what it means to be black and African in the 21st century

Take a moment today to give a shoutout to your favorite author and celebrate the incredible wealth of literature available to us all.


Joseph Omoniyi

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