Read Africa: Books for Wisconsin Libraries

The African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is pleased to offer public libraries throughout Wisconsin the opportunity to enrich their collections with new titles. Libraries across the state are invited to submit proposals to purchase books and materials that will enable Wisconsin readers to deepen their understanding of Africa. We encourage applicants to select books from the African Books List or winners of the Children’s Africana Book Awards. Thank you to Ainehi Edoro-Glines, Vincent Ogoti, and Brittle Paper for making this booklist available to our Wisconsin community. This project is supported with federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education Title VI. National Resource Center program, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Library Services team.

See the winners of the 2021 Read Africa Grant Program here.  The application window is currently closed. Please revisit this page periodically for updates and sign up for our newsletter by emailing with your request.


Curated by Dr. Ainehi Edoro-Glines and Vincent Ogoti, M.A.

Fiction – Poetry – Essay – Memoirs – Comics

“African literature has never been more vibrant. It has had an expanded global influence in the last 20 years. Writers are exploring storytelling in all its diversity and representing the continent’s cultures and experiences. There is a rise in creative non-fiction and exciting genres like science fiction, crime thriller, comic, YA, and children’s books. While the 150+ books listed in this collection are by no means exhaustive, they capture this wealth of creative expression.

“Several lists make up this collection. There is a very long fiction list and a few shortlists covering poetry and non fiction. The lists are organized in two ways. The first set of lists are chronological for readers who want their exploration to be guided by time. These lists begin in 2020 and move back in time all the way to the classics. For readers who want to be guided by interests, some of books have been sorted into genres and themes.

“While most decades are accounted for on these lists, the majority of the books are from the last 20 years, with an emphasis on the last 3 years. This is deliberate. We want to celebrate the new voices capturing the beauty and complexities of the contemporary African experience.”

– Ainehi Edoro-Glines


@brittlepaper (twitter)

“African literature is the most expanding literature in the world. There are those who go so far as to say that the future is African literature.” – Ben Okri, Brittle Paper


Download the African Books List here.

Award amount:

up to $1,000

Applicant Eligibility:
Any public library in the state of Wisconsin may apply.

Allowable expenses:

  • Books:  Africa-related books to augment library collections. Books selected from this curated list of titles from Brittle Paper or former recipients of the African Studies Association Africana Children’s Book Awards are pre-approved. Libraries may propose other titles, but such titles will be reviewed for approval on a case-by-case basis. Multiple copies (and formats) may be ordered.
  • Programming: Expenses for Africa-related programming including, but not limited to: book club materials and programming, hosting virtual programs related to Africa, film screenings, films, honoraria for guest speakers/subject experts, marketing costs for advertising programs, staff time for program planning and implementation, short-term licensing of virtual platform(s), take-away craft kit materials, etc. All budget items will be reviewed for approval on a case-by-case basis. Please note that food and beverage expenses are not permitted and should not be included in the budget.

Criteria for evaluation:

  • Geographical diversity: funding will be provided to a minimum of one library from each of the 16 Library Systems
  • Need: demonstrated need to diversify the library collection and/or program offerings.
  • Alignment with mission: proposals must evidence a commitment to teaching and learning about Africa and Africans.


Burlington Library Wins Grant

Library’s Read Africa Grant Proposal to be Fully Funded!

Beloit Public Library Receives Read Africa Grant

Viroqua Library Awarded Read Africa Grant