There has been a growing push for African literature that deals with themes that are lighthearted, even fun, in genres such as pulp fiction, chick lit, and romance. One of the greatest pushes toward this lightheartedness has been to romance, and we are seeing a growing number of African love stories.


Ankara Press collage


In the past week, writers, readers, and consumers of African literature have tweeted their favorite love stories using the hashtag #LoveInLiteraryAfrica. We were inspired and also want to share with you some African love stories to enjoy this Valentine’s Day!


“Lessons in Love” by Lara Daniels

Daniels’ “Lessons in Love” is about a romance writer falling in love with the head of the publishing company she works for. In it, protagonist Tara Olu-Browne finds herself signing up for lessons on how to improve love scenes with business mogul Jimi Akintaylor.


“Coronation” by Naa Shalman

Naa Shalman has emerged as one of the few African writers of historical romance. Set back when Ghana was the Gold Coast, “Coronation” is a story of love found in an arranged marriage between a prince and a noble maiden. Filled with the tension of treachery and calamity that befalls the kingdom, “Coronation” gives a pleasant glimpse into the time period.


“Maru” by Bessie Head

In “Maru,” an orphaned Masarwa girl moves to a remote Botswana village as a teacher and finds herself caught in a love triangle, or really, a love square. While Head explores racism, discrimination against indigenous San, oppression, and jealousy, “Maru” is at its heart a deeply moving love story that is at times poetic and mystical.


“Keeping Secrets” by Kiru Taye

Kiru Taye is a tireless romance writer and consistently releases works of fiction that are historical, contemporary, and even paranormal. “Keeping Secrets” is the first book in The Essien Trilogy, which follows the wealthy Essien family and the characters around them. “Keeping Secrets” brings a Nigerian spin to the trope in which a character wakes up from a coma to see himself married to stranger.


“Love Next Door” by Amina Thula

South African Amina Thula’s second book for Ankara Press, a publishing imprint that deals exclusively in contemporary romances set in African cities, “Love Next Door” is to be released tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day. “Love Next Door” follows the romance between neighbors Abby and Kopano. Living in the same apartment block, the two grow as friends while attraction blooms between them.


Do you read African romance? What are your favorite examples of #LoveInLiteraryAfrica? Leave a comment below or reach me on Twitter @rafeeeeta