An excerpt from The Guardian Review of Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi describes the book as a manifestation of Ada’s realization that she is irrevocably an amalgamation of all her varied and even divergent selves.
The conflict of self, identity and acceptance can be daunting for any member of the LGBTQ community, which is why we’ve curated a list of books that equally addresses these themes and to celebrate Pride month this June.
1. Adorkable by Omolola Odunowo
Kate and Thelma are from opposite ends of the social calendar – Kate is a nerdy girly girl and Thelma is a popular tom-boy who runs the school. Their lives get intertwined three years ago at a high school party where they are both dared to make out in front of everyone. Three years later, they meet again with Thelma still holding dear feelings she should have expressed three years ago but would Kate who seems indifferent take a second look at Thelma or does she really wish to forget what really happened between them? Kate’s best friend Ene may just be that one person holding the key to all that really transpired 3 years ago but would she be willing to spill the tea? Find out in this very thrilling read.
2. A Little Bit of Love’s Magic by Bamboo Deen.
A young woman finds the person her heart desires with the help of a bit of magic. Noura is a young I.T. consultant whose weak point is her family. She is at that age when the pressure to get married has hit a new high, but she is not in love with her current boyfriend of three years. After losing a bet, she has to pay a visit to a babalawo in order to obtain a love charm. Despite initial scepticism, Noura follows through with the bet and obtains a charm that is supposed to lead her to true love. The instructions are straightforward, “use this charm and the first person you encounter afterwards will be the love of your life”. The only issue is that the first person Noura sees is another woman. Bewaji has just moved back to her family home after almost a decade in the United Kingdom. She is looking for nothing more than a haven where she can relax, paint and not think about the row that was the reason she left in the first place. Of course nothing goes as planned, barely a week since Bewaji has returned and her father is trying to play matchmaker. There is also the matter of the gorgeous Noura who seems to believe that she is in love with Bewaji.
3. Queer and Sexy Collection by Enitan
Love Africa Press presents Volume One of its Queer and Sexy Collections exploring queer sensuality. Stories: Last Weekend, The Song, The Handmaiden In this debut edition of three interwoven stories written by Eniitan, we explore pleasure, desire, love, human nature and godhood. Follow the lives of Ufuoma, Larrie, Ariyike, Fausiat, Halimat and Uduak as they experience the magic that is the otherworldly Tara.
4. At What Age Does My Body Belong to Me? by Amanda Tayte-Tait.
This is a story of my death by the hands of society but it’s also the story of my rebirth. Speaking out in both pain and healing. The pain of rape, abuse, silence, suicide and mental health. How I found myself caged in a psych ward, afraid of what my sexuality meant. This is the story of how we became who we are and ultimately how I found the courage to speak out. This is my story but it’s also the story of so many others who came before me and it’s a symbol to say that we are no longer afraid.
5. She Called Me Woman By Azeernah Mohammed.
This stirring and intimate collection brings together 30 captivating narratives to paint a vivid portrait of what it means to be a queer Nigerian woman. Covering an array of experiences – the joy and excitement of first love, the agony of lost love and betrayal, the sometimes-fraught relationship between sexuality and spirituality, addiction and suicide, childhood games and laughter – She Called Me Woman sheds light on how Nigerian queer women, despite their differences, attempt to build a life together in a climate of fear.
6. Bound To Liberty by Kiru Taye
As if life isn’t tough enough for James Coker, rejected and nearly killed by family, he is also a closeted gay man in a country where being gay is outlawed. So when the first man he’s ever loved gets engaged to a woman, James’s solution to heartbreak is to indulge in a holiday fling. In contrast, Ethan Eze has had life relatively easy. Born in the ‘Land of the Free’ and nurtured within a family where he can be whoever he wants to be, he’s a military veteran who is not afraid of going for what he wants. When he meets James, Ethan wants him. Desire burns between them and soon blurs into devotion. But James is not ready to lose his heart again, certainly not to another man who can eat his cake and have it. Ethan has fought for his country. Now will he fight for love? Bound to Liberty is a story about breaking free from mental chains and living a life of boundless love.
7. 14 years of Rain by Paschal Ozurumba.
Deji, a socially awkward, closeted queer guy struggles to maintain his bare minimum job at an auto repair shop. However, when Akeem brings in his faulty Mustang for repairs, sparks begin to fly but uncertainty barricades them from speaking about it, but the rainbow gods have plans for these two. Akeem gets caught in the storm of a horrendous law and Deji must now fight for the freedom of his Mustang crush.
8. Cross Roads by Imoter Kpengwa
After one encounter in a park at school, Terlumun’s curiosity grows to full on infatuation with Tersoo. He loves Tersoo. But Tersoo has demons of his own. He is trapped in an abusive relationship with the guy who infected him with HIV. Will they be able to overcome this and the other obstacles in their relationship? Or will they crumble in the face of the overwhelming homophobia that threatens their love?
9. Closed Doors by Kingsley Adrian Banks
FFrom one of the biggest and most influential families in Lagos, Henry Johnson is already assured of a bright future. He knows what he wants – and he always makes sure he gets what he wants. He is wanted by everyone. But, deep down, he yearns for love, the type a woman cannot provide, the type he thinks of only in the dark. Phoenix has always been an outsider, desperate to be accepted and to become a movie star. Despite his great beauty, he finds breaking into Nollywood as an actor an impossible move because he’s feminine. But he has guts, and he will do anything to succeed, Henry and Phoenix’s destinies cross as Phoenix begin his shocking rise to stardom, and they are on a collision course to ruin in Nigeria’s fastest, most seductive city.
10. Trans by Suzane Dauda
This is a love story on hermaphroditism. How a change of appearance changed the lives of two best friends. This story also helps to create awareness of this condition.
Compiled and written by Precious Obiabunmo