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Peter Gostelow

Adventure cycling

African Literature

Africa continues to consume my thoughts. I just finished reading Blood River, which paints a pretty dismal picture of a country that fascinates me. Next up is this, which a cyclopathic friend  kindly lent me. I shall read it with interest whilst compiling a list of more books on Africa. My wish list of important books to read about the continent is growing rapidly. Here is a preliminary list, some of which I’ve already read. Let me know if I’ve missed any must reads.


  • Heart of Darkness: Joseph Conrad
  • Shadow of the Sun: My African Life, Ryszard Kapuscinski
  • Another Day of Life: Ryszard Kapuscinski
  • In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Michela Wrong
  • King Leopold’s Ghost: Adam Hochschild
  • The Scramble for Africa: Thomas Pakenham
  • Cry the Beloved Country: Alan Paton
  • Things fall Apart: Chinua Achebe
  • A Bend in the River: V. S. Naipaul
  • Through the Dark Continent: Henry Morton Stanley
  • Travels in the Interior of Africa: Mungo Park]
  • Travels in West Africa: Mary Kingsley
  • Blood River: Tim Butcher
  • The Burnt out Case: Graham Greene
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro: Ernest Hemmingway
  • Collected African stories: Doris Lessing
  • The Zanzibar Chest: A Memoir of Love and War
  • The African Dream: Che Guevara
  • The Poisonwood Bible: Barbara Kingswater
  • We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Philip Gourevitch
  • Stanley: Tim Jeal
  • Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent: Blaine Harden
  • A Long Way Gone – Memoirs of a Boy Soldier: Ishmael Beah
  • Going Down River Road: Meja Mwangi
  • French Lessons in Africa: Travels with My Briefcase Through French Africa: Peter Biddlecombe
  • Rough Crossings: Simon Schama
  • The Viceroy of Ouidah: Bruce Chatwin
  • Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight: Alexandra Fuller


  1. A more recent Dervla Murphy titled The Ukimwi Road and Laurens van der Post’s novel, A Story Like The Wind and the sequel, A Far Off Place. All set in sub-Saharan areas.

    Also, Man in Africa by anthropologist Colin Turnbull.

    • Hi, thanks for those – I have read the DM book – will look up the others.

  2. Cheers Rolf – a shame I won’t be able to carry more than several with me at one time!

  3. Hello Peter. And I thought I had quite some books about Africa.. Here are some more for your list. Just finished “Heban” by Kapuscinski, “The state of Africa” by Meredith and “The Gates of Africa” by Sattin. Coming up: “Dark Star Safari” by Paul Theroux, “Travels into the interior of Africa” by Mungo Park, “Journey without Maps” by Graham Greene and “New News of Africa” by Hunter-Gault. Also a funny book about how NOT to cross Africa: “Swahili for the Broken-hearted” by Peter Moore.

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