John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

Print Print Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close


Ten Books for Approaching Religious Conflict in Nigeria

by John Campbell
August 19, 2014

A newspaper front page reporting the death of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe lies on a street in Calabar, Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, March 23, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)


The Tony Blair Faith Foundation has just published Emily Mellgard’s “Must Reads on Religious Conflict in Nigeria.”

As Mellgard observes, Nigeria has a rich literary tradition, and the Lagos International Book Fair is the largest in Africa. She suggests that an entry point into the complexities of the country is through its literature and what others have written about the country. Her list of “must reads” starts with two classics by Chinua Achebe,  Ngozi Adichie’s first novel, and  Saro-Wiwa’s  travel memoir. Her non-fiction selections are focused on the interplay between religion and politics in Nigeria.

The full selection includes:

  • Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
  • Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God
  • Noo Sara-Wiwa, Looking for Transwonderland
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus
  • Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom:  the Rise of Global Christianity
  • Ruth Marshall, Political Spiritualities:  The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria
  • John Campbell, Nigeria:  Dancing on the Brink
  • John Paden, Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution:  the Challenge of Democratic Federalism in Nigeria
  • Julius Adekunle, ed., Religion in Politics:  Secularism and National Integration in Modern Nigeria
  • Toyin Falola, Violence in Nigeria:  The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies

Readers of Africa in Transition will recognize Emily Mellgard as its editor and also a contributor, especially on environmental issues. She has now moved to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in London where she will continue to follow Africa and religion.

Post a Comment 3 Comments

  • Posted by Kanayo

    I think Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah’s “Religion, Politics and Power in Northern Nigeria” is a very important omission from that list.

  • Posted by Danny

    There’s is a recent book on Nigeria but embraces the other countries of Africa too. I believe there could be a solution to stabilize political situation in Nigeria and Africa in that book.

    Very good ideas in the book. Title of the book is Shine Your Eyes Mama Africa: Memoir Of An Enlightened African by Gavin Bond. It’s a memoir too and very passionate about what is happening in Nigeria and the other parts of Africa.

  • Posted by Andrew Wojtanik

    Great list. Paden and Falola are very, very useful.

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required