10 Best Amharic Books of All Time

best amharic books review and free download

March 19, 2022

With a rich history, culture, and language, Ethiopia offers one of the fascinating literary traditions of our entire world. The art of writing is as old as the country itself, spanning thousands of years. The ancient writing tradition of Ethiopia, fascinating as it is, was only limited to religious writings. With the introduction of a modern printing press in 1863, the country started seeing non-religious texts published. The first Amharic Book known as “Leb Welled Tarik” and was written by Afework Gebreyesus, published in Rome in 1908. Since then, Amharic Books has witnessed a massive growth; both fiction and non-fiction books published and read widely.

By looking at the Amharic Books published at that time, Ethiopian literature was at its peak during the 1970s and 80s. During this era, when Ethiopia was under communist rule, literature served as an instrument of resistance against the regime. Several journalists and authors jailed because of this. Thus, demonstrating the power of their writing.

This article contains some of the best and most relevant Amharic Books produced in the country. The reviews of these books do not have any spoilers; therefore, you can enjoy them without worry. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the ten Amharic Books you must read.

1. Fiqer Eske Meqaber by Haddis Alemayehu

Fikir Eske Mekabir (ፍቅር እስከ መቃብር) | Free PDF & Review
  • Author: Haddis Alemayehu
  • Year of Publication: 1968
  • Category: Fiction, Novel, Romance

About the Author

Haddis Alemayehu was a government official and writer born on October 15 1910. He was a veteran of the second Italo-Ethiopian war and has spent time in Sardina as a war prisoner. After returning to Ethiopia, Haddis served in different government posts as an official and, after his retirement, wrote some of the best novels the country has ever seen.

About the Book

Fiqer eske Meqaber, roughly translated to “Love to the Grave”, is a romance novel set in feudal Ethiopia. Seble, a beautiful daughter of a feudal lord, falls in love with Bezabeh, a peasant deacon who was her tutor. Through their forbidden love affair, the book offers a critique of the feudal society as well as an effective representation of the power of love. The Ethiopian novelist and translator Sahle-Selassie Berhane-Mariam said that the book’s theme offered a similar societal setting with that of pre-industrial Russia.

“Her handwriting was generally good… The main reason was, he wanted to sit close to her and touch and hold on to her hand whenever she made a mistake… She was trying to reach for her items, stretching her fingers out and touching the wall where they hung. Bezabeh was studying her with his mouth and eyes opened. For a person in love, each and every ordinary thing on the loved person has a secret of happiness …”

Translated Quote From the Book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

If you are looking for a compelling and long love story, then this Amharic Book is for you. The mesmerizing beauty of the Amharic language will have you hooked for hours, and the book will leave you sad once you finish it.

Click Here to Download  Fikir eske mekabir (ፍቅር እስከ መቃብር) PDF For Free

2. Oromay by Bealu Girma

Oromay (ኦሮማይ)| Free PDF  & Review
  • Author: Bealu Girma
  • Year of Publication: 1983
  • Category: Fiction, Novel, Politics

About the Author

Bealu Girma was an Ethiopian journalist and writer known for his criticisms of the communist Ethiopian regime known as the Derg. Born in 1939, Bealu attended Addis Ababa University and earned a degree in Journalism and political science. He later worked in the Ministry of information as the editor-in-chief of “Yezareyitu Ethiopia” – an Amharic newspaper, and many other newspapers and magazines. The government at that time kept a close eye on him as his writings often critiqued the government.

Bealu later attained more senior positions in the government, wherein in 1977, he became permanent secretary of the Ministry of information. Shortly after publishing his novel, Oromay in 1983, the government security forces abducted him and no one heard from him ever since.

About the Book

Similar to Sebhat’s novels, Oromay is a fictionalized autobiography of Bealu himself. Tsegaye, a TV correspondent, went to Eritrea to cover the “Red Star Campaign”, a military campaign aiming to crush the Eritrean Rebels (known as EPLF or Shabia). Through his stay in Eritrea, an optimistic and patriotic Tsegaye, faced with the brutality and atrocious nature of the war, turns into a cynic. The word Oromay is an Eritrean Tigrigna word for “it is pointless”, reflecting the book’s theme. War, Sacrifice, Geo-political commentaries, and Love are also some of the book’s themes. On March 2, 2021, after nearly 40 years of Oromay’s publication, an English translation of the book released.

“Intelligence is not the work of intelligence personnel alone; in these days, it must have a foundation built on the populace. Everyone should be a spy for the revolution and country. Saying ‘I am a revolutionary’ is not enough, comrade. The standard is action.”

Translated Quote from the Book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

This book would make an entertaining read for anyone who likes Amharic Books about war and romance. It would make an even more fun read for those who are interested in Ethiopian politics of the 70s and 80s.

Click Here to Download Oromay (ኦሮማይ) PDF For Free

3. Giracha Kachiloch by Adam Reta

Giraca kachiloch (ግራጫ ቃጭሎች) | Free  PDF  & Review
  • Author: Adam Reta
  • Year of Publication: 1997
  • Category: Fiction, Novel

About the author

Adam Reta is one of the most successful and famous writers of Ethiopia. Born in Addis Ababa in 1957, Adam got his Bachelor’s degree in Geography at Addis Ababa University. Since the publication of his first work, “Abba Defar and other stories”, Adam has been getting growing acclaim and attention. His books cover themes like childhood, poverty, and also magical realism – which makes him unique from other Ethiopian writers. Some literary critics also dub him as an existentialist writer.

About the book

Giracha Kachiloch or Gray Bells follows the life story of Mezgebu, an introverted child who is raised by an ignorant father and a cruel step-mother. The story begins with Mezgebu’s childhood in the small town of Nefas Mewcha and continues to cover his adult life, where he works as a policeman in Addis Ababa. The story is mesmerizing as it explores themes of Love, Hate, Poverty, Childhood, and Books. Keeping in the style of Adam’s writing, the book also offers Magical elements that seep through the story for brief moments, making the narrative even more gripping. Literary critic Worku Sharew compared the book’s greatness to that of Fiqer Eske Meqaber.

 “She moved her eyes towards my direction and, after shaking her head, went back inside…I wanted someone to hug me. I sat down, holding on to my knees…Is no one going to hug me? Who’s going to hug me?”

Translated quote from the book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

If you like Amharic Books with a story myth, magic, and love, Giracha Kachiloch is your book. It is an intriguing read which will stay in your mind long after you finish it.

Click Here to Download Girach Kachiloch (ግራጫ ቃጭሎች) PDF For Free

4.Tikusat by Sibhat Gebre-Egziabher

Tikusat (ትኩሳት) | Free Ethiopian Book PDF  & Review

About the Author

Sebhat Gebre-Egziabher was an Ethiopian writer born in Adwa in 1936. Sebhat went to France for education and later moved to the United States. After returning to Ethiopia, Sebhat wrote and published tons of fiction and non-fiction Amharic Books both in Amharic and French. He was also a columnist at the Ethiopian Herald, Addis Zemen, and many other Ethiopian newspapers. Sebhat is well known for his controversial writings on sexuality and religion, which shocked Ethiopia’s conservative society. Nonetheless, the author has amassed admiration from the youth, and his works remain popular even after his death in 2012.

About the Book

The book is actually a fictionalized autobiography of the author himself. It covers the experiences of an Ethiopian man who went to France for education. The main character writes his experiences of love, friendship, financial struggles, and overall youth life throughout his stay.

The word “Tikusat”, translated as fever, depicts the intensity of the raw emotions of a young man. The book also offers different commentaries about world politics through its exciting conversations, including a strong critique of American imperialism.

“Being young is good. You may not have money, but you have health; You may not be beautiful, but you have a brain; Or you may not have the knowledge, but you have an ego; You may not have love, but you have hope…if you can’t take the oppression, you pick up the revolver… if you are sick of living, you kill yourself…you will have a history, even though people may not know it, for you are young.”

Translated quote from the book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

Unfortunately, this book is not for everyone. As it contains explicit scenes and obscene language, the book is recommended for a mature audience only.

Click Here to Download Tikusat (ትኩሳት) PDF For Free.

5. Letum Aynegalign by Sebhat Gebre-Egziabher

ሌቱም አይነጋልኝ pdf Amharic Books

About the Book

If you thought “Tikusat” was Sibhat’s most controversial Amharic Book, get ready to be wrong. “Letum Aynegalign” or “Dawn Yet Not” is a novel written by Sebhat Gebre-Egziabher and published on January 1, 2000. The book revolves around the nightlife of Addis Ababa in the 1970s., focusing on the neighbourhood of “Wube Bereha” infamous for its drunks, prostitutes, and nightclubs. Much like Tikusat, this novel is also a fictionalized autobiographical account of the author. In this book, Sebhat reveals himself shamelessly and openly talks about his different affairs with prostitutes and even falls in love with one.

The book ignited a massive controversy as topics of sexual relationships is taboo in Ethiopian society. However, Sebhat’s young audience admired the book for its openness, and it managed to sell in tremendous amounts. A French translation titled “Les Nuits D’addis Abeba” or “Addis Ababa Nights” released in 2004, translated by the author and Francis Falceto.

“Since I can’t cry, I will talk and philosophize. Shut your mouth, open your ears, and listen to me when I talk.”

Translated quote from the book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

Letum Aynegalign” is a book strictly for an adult audience as it contains explicit language and graphic scenes.

Click Here to Download Letum Aynegalign (ሌቱም አይነጋልኝ) PDF For Free

6. Medemer by Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali

መደመር pdf Amharic Books
  • Author: Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali
  • Year of Publication: 2019
  • Category: Non-fiction, Political Philosophy

About the Author

Dr Abiy Ahmed is an Ethiopian politician who is now the fourth prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Abiy is a longtime writer and has written several Amharic Books under a pen name, apart from his political endeavours.

About the Book

Since coming into office in 2018, Dr. Abiy constantly talked about peace, reconciliation, and “Medemer”. Medemer is the Amharic equivalent of synergy, and although it’s a familiar word in the Amharic language, many people didn’t understand its implications in the country’s politics. So, on October 21, 2019, the prime minister published his book “Medemer”. The book critiques Ethiopia’s political history and tries to point out the good and bad. It also tries to forge a new path to move forward as a country. It prescribes a way of peace, reconciliation, and healing – all included under the “Medemer” philosophy – that will lead Ethiopia to a better future.

“Sustainable and healthy economic growth is ensured when these actors (the government, private enterprises, NGOs, and education places) create a strong bond. Individual excellence of a single actor will not ensure sustainable and healthy economic growth.”

Translated quote from the book Medemer

Who is this Amharic Book for?

This book is for anyone who wishes to understand the current political philosophy of Ethiopia’s leader. The book also offers a somewhat fair historical assessment of Ethiopia so that one can learn about the country’s history as well. If you want to know more about the book before you read it, there is a detailed review written by professor Alemayehu G.Mariam, and you can find it here.

Click Here to Download Medemer (መደመር) PDF For Free.

7. Yeteqolefebet Kulf by Dr. Mihret Debebe

የተቆለፈበት ቁልፍ Amharic Books
  • Author: Dr. Meheret Debebe
  • Year of Publication: 2013
  • Category: Fiction, Novel, Psychology

About the Author

Dr Mehret Debebe is an Ethiopian psychologist who was educated in both Ethiopia and the United States. He currently moves back and forth between these countries to work as a Psychologist. Apart from his medical profession, Dr Meheret is an acclaimed author and public speaker. He hosts different seminars in which he talks about mindset growth and the development of intellect.

About the Book

Yetekolefebet Kulf or The Locked Key is a novel that deals with the lives of many characters and the relationship between them. The novel is set in both Ethiopia and the US. It mainly revolves around the relationship of Melaku and Selome, two young friends who are in love with each other and face many challenges that keep them from being together. The book also emphasizes mental health and how the development of the mind is crucial for a nation.

“Now the key is no longer in your hand. I have taken the key from your chamber of lies in which you hid it. You can go ahead and check for yourself if you want. All you have is an empty chamber.”

Translated quote from the book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

This book is best suited for audiences who have an interest or curiosity in psychology.

Click Here to Download Yeteqolefebet Kulf (የተቆለፈበት ቁልፍ) PDF For Free.

8. Lela Sew by Dr. Mihret Debebe

ሌላ ሰው Amharic Books
  • Author: Dr. Mihret Debebe
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction, Novel, Psychology

About the Book

Lela Sew or Another Person is the second novel of Dr Meheret, preceded by Yetekolefebet Kulf. The book is a psychological novel that deals with personality. Much like his previous novel, the book deals with many different characters and their relationship. The main character, a psychologist, is a person who is split between family responsibility, a sense of duty to his country, and a personal issue he needs closure with. The book has received wide acclaim and further popularized the author.

“Every person is another person… for the other person is the first person.”

Translated Quotes from the book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

Dr Meheret’s books suit a young audience with an interest in psychology. But no background or prior knowledge of psychology is required to enjoy his books. Therefore, we can say that his books are for everyone.

Click Here to Download Lela Sew (ሌላ ሰው) PDF For Free.

9. Emegua by Alemayehu Wasse Eshete

እመጓ pdf Amharic Books
  • Author: Alemayehu Wasse Eshete
  • Year of Publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction, Novel, Faith

About the Author

Dr Alemayehu Wassie Eshete is an Ethiopian writer and environmentalist born in South Gondar, Ethiopia. He received his forestry degree and joined the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental protection, where he worked as a forestry expert. He is also an adjunct professor and a prolifically read author. In 2007, Dr Alemayehu was the recipient of the Alwyn Gentry award.

About the Book

Emegua is a faith-based novel and the first of a trilogy, followed by Zigora and Merbebt. The book’s main character, an environmentalist, explores the different monasteries of Ethiopia and their secrets while searching for the Holy Grail. The book explores themes of faith and tries to illustrate the greatness of the ancient Ethiopians and their unexplored history. A lot of history that was transferred by word of mouth can be found in this book. In all of his works, through the voice of his character, the author laments Ethiopia’s fall from grace and constantly reminds us that we must connect to our past in order to be great again.

“If you wanted to educate, then what’s the need of being this secretive? What’s the problem if the generation knows everything? What’s the use of all this history, medicine, and artefact if they are kept secret? Don’t we have the love of Christ too? Don’t we deserve the blessings of the promise? Thanks to your secrecy, you couldn’t build a bridge with this generation.”

Translated quote from the book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

This book is for anyone who would like to be mesmerized. Though some of the historical narratives of the book have a debatable truth, it nonetheless offers an image of Ethiopia no one has ever seen before.

Click Here to Download Emegua (እመጓ) PDF For Free.

10. Kibur Dingay by Yismake Worku

ክቡር ድንጋይ
  • Author: Yismake Worku
  • Year of Publication: 2013
  • Category: Fiction, Novel, Fantasy

About the Author

Yismake Worku is a young and successful author whose Amharic Books have become national bestsellers. The author keeps a very private profile, so not much can be said about his life and upbringing. Yismake writes in the genres of Science Fiction and fantasy. His Sci-Fi novel series “Dertogada” has sold some quarter of a million copies. His other novels also remain popular and are revered by his readers.

About the Book

Kibur Dingay, or “Stone of Glory”, follows the story of a wealthy man who has a keen interest in magic. While experimenting with magical spells, the man turns himself into a black dog. Now a dog, the protagonist travels throughout Ethiopia to arrive at his home. Through his journeys, the man-turned-dog makes many observations about Ethiopian society. He strongly criticizes the norms and politics of Ethiopia as a society. This book is a fantastic satire aimed to make Ethiopians stop and think.

“It has been a horrible few days. I feel like some life has been drained from my short dog existence. If I hadn’t managed to drag myself into the middle of a corn farm, I would have been picked apart by merciless scavenging birds.” (translated by Asymptote Journal )

Translated quote From the book

Who is this Amharic Book for?

In his own way, Yismake can be considered a philosopher. If you’d like to receive a jaunt reading experience, Kibur Dingay is for you. Some scenes in the book are considered inappropriate for a young audience. Therefore, the book is better suited for a mature audience.

Click Here to Download Kibur Dingay (ክቡር ድንጋይ) PDF For Free.


These Amharic Books are the tip of the iceberg. Ethiopia’s literature offers a variety of books written by amazing authors. Reading these Amharic Books will definitely transform your thoughts about Ethiopia, and you will be left looking for more Amharic Books to read.

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Written by Kidus - Typical Ethiopian Team

Kidus is a passionate content creator and a winner of Blog4dev 2021 competition. He is also one of typicalethiopian.com authors.

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  1. Mekonnen

    All best interesting

  2. Nathnael Tsegaw

    The first five are all fantastic reads that everyone should go through at least once. The second five are books to be avoided at all costs. Some have great concepts they waste with terrible prose, pacing, and plot holes. Others are straight-up dumb. I’m utterly confused as to how someone could recommend these two groups of books on the same list. Seriously, Kibur Dingay? Not Dertogda? Lela Sew, not Yetangut Mistir? Get real.

  3. Azmeraw

    በአማርኛ ሊሆኑ አይችሉም ነበር?
    አርአያ፣ የድሆች ከተማ፣ ሣልሳዊ ዳዊት፣ እያሉ ክቡር ድንጋይ?


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