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5 Outstanding Bookstores In Lagos To Check Out For African Literature

5 Outstanding Bookstores In Lagos To Check Out For African Literature

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When we grab a book and immerse our minds in its pages, we are transported to the world of the book, and this experience is amazing. Nothing feels like the company of a good book. But sometimes, it can be hard to find wonderful spaces that sell these books. To walk into a bookstore and find it crammed with books that aren’t your cup of tea, or to enter a shabby, inhospitable bookshop can feel like being a jilted lover.

But there are bookstores whose ambiance will have you coming back for more. These bookstores do more than just the business of buying and selling books. In this piece, we will explore five outstanding bookstores you should check out if you are in Lagos and are interested in African literature, or reading in general.

Check out 5 outstanding bookstores in Lagos for a great experience…

#1. Terra Kulture Bookstore

terra-kulture
Photo: @terrakulture_bookstore/Instagram

You may be used to seeing stacks of books packed exclusively on shelves in bookshops or bookstores. But how about a place where books share space with art and crafts? What about food? Yes, food. That is the special wonder of Terra Kulture. It is one of the units of Terra Kulture Arts & Studios Ltd., established by the Nigerian lawyer, Bolanle Austen-Peters in 2003 to promote the richness and diversity of Nigerian languages, arts, and culture.

With a stock of over 20,000 books organized with exquisite paintings and crafts, you have more than enough to gratify your literary and artistic desires. The Terra Kulture Restaurant is there to meet your culinary needs even as you browse the bookstore’s rich collection of spellbinding literature. Terra Kulture also has a state-of-the-art performance hall known as The Arena, a venue for theatrical performances and musical concerts.

It is a wonderful artistic ambiance at Terra Kulture Bookstore and comes highly recommended for lovers of literature and art in general. Little wonder why the acclaimed Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie launched her third novel, Americanah, at the venue in 2013. Terra Kulture is located on Plot 1376 Tiamiyu Savage St., Victoria Island, 106104, Lagos.

#2. Ouida Books

ouida-bookstore
Photo: @ouida_lagos/Instagram

Ouida Books is one of the best bookstores in Lagos and was founded by the novelist and poet, Lola Shoneyin. Located at No. 3c Oba Dosumu St., Ikeja GRA 101233, Ikeja, Lagos, it is a cultural space that caters to literary enthusiasts and book lovers with the best books from Africa and across the world. It is also a publishing house with an impressive list of authors including Nnedi Okorafor, Helon Habila, Bisi Adjapon, E.C. Osondu, Ayobami Adebayo (winner of the 9Mobile Prize for Literature 2017), and Tomi Adeyemi. The Bookstore provides a brilliant space for literary activities such as open mic sessions, book readings, and book chats.

#3. Parrésia Books

Photo: @parresiapublishers/Instagram

Another amazing bookstore to check out in Lagos is this one. Located on the first floor of Ibilola Nelson House, 82 Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Parrésia Books flaunts a serene and welcoming ambiance you’ll love. The Bookstore aims to introduce books to readers in Nigeria and promote freedom of the press and the imagination. It sells books of different genres, but you will find in stock books published by Parrésia Publishers (owned by Azafi Omoluabi Ogosi and Richard Ali) among its diverse stock of Nigerian and African literature.

Parrésia Publishers has published many award-winning writers including Helon Habila, Chika Unigwe (winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2012), Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2016), and Cheluchi Onyemelukwe (winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021). But it sells a diverse list of books released by other publishing houses across the world.

#4. Patabah Books

Photo: @patabahbooks/Instagram

Since its establishment in 1987, Patabah Books has been in the business of encouraging knowledge-seeking and nurturing the appreciation of creativity through books, gifts, and cards. It is one of the best-known bookstores in Lagos that sell African books, as well as others from across the world. It is located at Shop B 18 Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall on Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere. Attractions at the bookstore include an ever-expanding stock and variety of book titles, in-store readings, author signings, and related literary events.

#5. Roving Heights

Photo: @rovingheights/Instagram

One of Nigeria’s biggest bookstores, Roving Heights was co-founded by The Future Award Africa Prize-nominated Tobi Eyinade and her brother, Adebola, to fill a gap in book sales and distribution both locally and internationally. They named it Roving Heights out of a belief that a book’s “roving pages” can take its reader to “greater heights” in life. Roving Heights is now a top bookstore chain in Nigeria and has recently been awarded the London Book Fair (LBF) International Excellence Awards (IEA).

Roving Heights has a superb online bookstore and impressive distribution arrangements; it has secured exclusive deals for books on celebrities, such as Toke Makinwa’s memoir, On Becoming. The bookstore has become a major space for literary activities such as book readings and has hosted Wole Soyinka, Chigozie Obioma, Ayobami Adebayo, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, among other authors for readings. The bookstore enjoys a huge social media following and impressive sales but also supports programs that donate books to children, internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, and prison inmates.

Featured image: Omon Okhuevbie via @ouida_lagos/Instagram


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