Memory Lane Mondays: Diaries Of A Dead African by Chuma Nwokolo

Welcome to Memory Lane Mondays! 

This is a weekly feature of unforgettable books I have read in times past which have not had the chance to be reviewed on this blog as I read them a long  time ago. Lets’ call them my personal classics. I will be featuring a new favorite every week and I hope you will be interested to read and enjoy some as I have.

This week’s pick is “Diaries of a Dead African” by Chuma Nwokolo

diaries of a dead african

Chuma Nwokolo became one of my favorite African authors of all time because of this book and I have reread this book over 4 times at least. This extremely humorous story (a bit dark though) always be back after so many years. His other books, “The Ghost of Sani Abacha” and “The Extinction of Menai” were also good reads but non have come close to this story for me and I am always eager to recommend it to everyone who loves a good laugh.


Diaries of a Dead African is a merciless comedy that explores the life-threatening situations of three protagonists, the farmer Meme Jumai and his two sons – Abel (failed writer) and Calamatus (aspiring conman). Meme’s wife has left him with the bulk of his barn. He has a few tubers to last until harvest. Can he stretch it? Will his friends and relatives help out? Calamatus’ break has finally come after an apprenticeship to a con-artist. Can he survive wealth as readily as he did, poverty? Finally Abel’s manuscripts are attracting attention, but not, as he discovers, for their literary value… his fondest dreams were on the verge of realisation, yet his father had died at 50 and his brother at 25. How to outlive them both, without fleeing the very opportunities he had craved all his life…

Published: 2003 by Villagehouse

Pages: 193

Genre: Fiction (African Literature)

Purchase on 

The Author:Chuma Nwokolo was born in Jos, Nigeria in 1963. He graduated from the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1983 and was called to the bar in 1984. He was a managing partner of the C&G Chambers in Lagos and  writer-in-residence at The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.  He  founded the literary magazine African Writing with an old friend, Afam Akeh. His first novels, The Extortionist (1983) and Dangerous Inheritance (1988), were published by Macmillan in the Pacesetter Novels. His stories have found foster homes in the London Review of Books, La Internazionale, AGNI, MTLS, Arzenal, and Sentinel, among places. Other books written by the author include, African Tales at Jailpoint (1999), One More Tale for the Road (2003), and Diaries of a Dead African (2003). In his words, his more honest anthologies consist of The Ghost of Sani Abacha (2012) and How to Spell Naija in 100 Short Stories Volumes 1 (2013), and 2 (2016).


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