Nigeria is blessed with so many writers and authors. A lot more than any other African country and even most European countries can boast to have. Although some renowned writers like Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta and Ola Rotimi amongst others are no more, the Nigerian literature space is still as vibrant as it ever was. In this article, we’ll be looking at the Top 5 richest authors in Nigeria.
1. Chimamanda Adichie
With a net worth estimated at $5 million, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the richest author in Nigeria. The Enugu-born writer is a globally renowned author with 4 published books as of 2021. She began her career in 2003 while still an undergraduate. That year, she would publish her first novel Purple Hibiscus. The novel won the Commonwealth’s writer prize for Best First Book in 2005.
About 3 years after, 2006, Ngozi put out her second novel Half of a Yellow Sun. The book was about the Biafra nation of southeastern Nigerian which existed from 1967 to 1970. It takes about the struggles before, during, and after the Biafran War (Nigerian Civil War). In 2014, a movie for the novel was released featuring some of the world’s best actors.
Her third novel, The Thing Around Your Neck was released in 2009. The book addressed the African and United States community amidst the relationship between parents and children and men and women. Her latest novel Americanah was released in 2014. Aside from these novels, Chimamanda has written a litany of short stories which has also won her numerous awards.
2. Wole Soyinka
In 1986, Wole Soyinka made history as the first sub-Saharan African to win a Nobel Prize for literature. The renowned author who began his career in 1957 has also won an Academy of Achievement Award, Benson Medal, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award amongst others.
Wole Soyinka has more plays than novels to his name. While he has authored 2 novels, with another expected in 2021, Soyinka has written 30 plays. Some of his notable plays include The Lion and the Jewel, A Dance of the Forests, The Strong Breed, Kongi’s Harvest, Madmen and Specialists, Death and the King’s Horseman, and Alapata Apata.
His two published novels include The Interpreters which was released in 1964, and the Season of Anomy which was released in 1972. After about 50 years, a third novel, Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth, is expected in later 2021. Soyinka has a vast collection of essays, poetry pieces, memoirs, and short stories. Notable among these include Ake:The Years of Childhood, Mandela’s Earth and other poems, A Climate of Fear, and Beyond Aesthetic.
3. Ben Okri
Ben Okri released his first first novel, Flowers and Shadows, in 1980. Since then, the author and novelist has become one of the leading authors not just in Nigeria but Africa at large. About 11 years after publishing his first novel, he released his most popular novel till date, The Famished Road. The book won the 1991 Booker Prize and that began the international exposure for Ben Okri.
Ben Okri had earlier won a Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1987 for his work Incidents at the Shrine. By 1997, the writer received an Honorary Doctorate of Literature award from the University of Westminster. Since the start of his career in 1980, Ben had published a total of 11 novels.
Aside from the 2 mentioned earlier, others include The Landscapes Within, Songs of Enchantment, Astonishing the Gods, Dangerous Love, Starbook, The Age of Magic, and The Freedom Artist amongst others. There are about 13 works in his Poetry, essays and short story collections. In 2014, his work N – The Madness of Reason was made into a feature film.
4. Teju Cole
In 2007, Teju Cole introduced himself to the world with his debut novel, Every Day Is For The Thief. However, his big break was his second novel Open City which was published in 2011. Open City won him a Time’s Magazine Book of The Year Award, Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, and an International Literature Award after the book was translated to German in 2013.
Notably, Teju Cole received a Windham–Campbell Literature Prize in 2015. The price is valued at $150,000 (about 60 million Nigerian Naira) so it’s no argument that he’s one of the richest authors in Nigeria. In 2016, Teju Cole released his notable essay collection Known and Strange Things.
Aside from being a renowned author, Teju Cole is also known for his photography works and his innovative use of Twitter and Instagram amongst other social media platforms. In 2018, he was honored in the 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for Creative Arts.
5. Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is an author, novelist, journalist, and essayist from Nigeria. She is the first contemporary African writer to build a global career while remaining entirely domiciled in her own country, and she is based in Abuja, Nigeria.
Her first novel, I Do Not Come To You By Chance, received the Best First Book (Africa) Commonwealth Writer Prize for 2010 and was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post.
This author’s work focuses on humanitarian problems underreported. Her stories and articles have been published in several notable publications, including The New Yorker, the New York Times and The Guardian. For BBC’s ‘Letter from Africa’ she publishes a monthly piece, also aired on Africa’s Radio Focus.
Chimamanda is the most renowned Nigeria writer at the moment and also the richest author in Nigeria. Wole Soyinka comes next but due to the lack of data, no precise information about his net worth or the other richest authors were given.