The Voices of 24 Nigerian Writers on their Home Country- A Review of ‘Of this our Country’

Title: Of this our Country: Acclaimed Nigerian Writers on the Home, Identity and Culture They Know

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers for Ouida Books

Year of Publication: 2021

Number of Pages: 275

Category: Non-Fiction (Memoir)

With this book in hand, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered a room with some of your favourite authors and are going to listen to them discuss life in Nigeria through the lens of their own personal and illuminating accounts of the country. “Of this our Country” is a collection of short stories by twenty-four different Nigerian authors, all with a Nigerian theme.

Following a fascinating overview of the essays’ publication history is a collection of first-person accounts that each serve to illustrate the authors’ deep connections to their heritage. Some of the authors include Sefi Atta, Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bolu Babalola, Abi Daré, and Ayobami Adébayo.

Discovering both well-known and lesser-known Nigerian authors is easy with this book. It’s interesting to see how comfortable the authors were talking about the places they called home.

Some of the authors are able to convey their enthusiasm for Nigeria to their readers. In spite of the fact that they have mostly settled in other countries, it is only natural that they keep coming back to their place of origin.

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The authors have learned a lot and been motivated to write an insightful book thanks to their time spent in places like Lagos, Abeokuta, Enugu, Jos, and many others. Reading these accounts, any foreigner who may have thought Nigeria had nothing of interest or note to offer would have their minds changed.

You have to question if the authors of these works are linked, given the number of times the name “Enugu” appears and the obvious similarities between them.

However, not all of these writers are indigenous Nigerians; some of them were actually raised elsewhere and have only recently adopted Nigeria as their permanent residence.

You will be blown away by the superb descriptive writing in every single piece, but the works of Chimamanda Adiche, Okey Ndibe, and Abubakar Ibrahim will be especially memorable.

Chimamanda Adichie’s narrative offers a hilarious and horrifying look at life in Lagos. You should be able to tell if you’d like to read additional books by some of these authors based on your reaction to their stories, as it serves as a strong representation of the author’s other works.

You will like the descriptions that show Nigeria’s timeless features, and some readers may even develop an affinity for the country as a result of reading this book; yet, many of Nigeria’s negative aspects are highlighted, which may dissuade people who have never been there from traveling there.

If you have a hunger for books on Nigeria, I highly recommend this to you.

About the reviewer

Titilade Oyemade is a business executive in a leading organisation and holds a degree in Russian Language. She’s the convener of the Hangoutwithtee Ladies Event and the publisher of Hangoutwithtee magazine. She spends her weekends attending women conferences, events and book readings. She loves to have fun and to help other women have the same in their lives. Email: Social: @tiipreeofficial