#NOTUKYA Challenge: Reading Books from Around the World

I have a REALLY exciting post for you guys today! The lovely people at UKYABA are celebrating the UKYA community in the lead up to YALC. The UKYA community is such a positive and wholesome community, and it’s something I’m really proud and happy to be a part of.

However, as UK book bloggers, it’s our responsibility to read books which aren’t set in the UK and US. And this includes branching out from YA books too. So so soooooo many books are set in the UK and the US, and it creates a bubble of only seeing people that you recognise in books.

I spent a lot of time researching books for this post, and it really is safe to assume that if a summary doesn’t say where a book is set, it’s going to be set in the UK or the US. That sucks.

So … for my day of celebrating UKYA, I’ve decided to encourage us all to read OUTSIDE of UKYA by creating the #NOTUKYA CHALLENGE!

The challenge is simple and has 2 parts:

  1. To read a book set on each of the continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Oceania). I haven’t included Antarctica as … no one lives there.
  2. Get a bingo! There are six mini bingo cards for each continent, which I have then compiled to make up one MAHOOSIVE bingo card. Take your pick as to how big a challenge you want! You can aim to get a bingo line, or go for the full house. It’s really up to you for this part!

It can take place any time you want. I’m going to be trying to complete the continents challenge by the end of the year, and of course trying to get a few bingos along the way. The whole point is to encourage yourself to read books from all over the world, and that can be within your own deadline.

SO …

Here are the six mini bingo cards for each continent! You can also find them on my Twitter (@jazdamen) and on my Instagram story (@travelsinfiction) if you want to screenshot them. All of the books mentioned are also in the master list at the bottom of this post!

[Note: If you're reading this in the WordPress Reader, the formatting doesn't work for the bingo cards or for the collapsible master list - it will work on mobile, out of the app though!)

And here is the big one … the one you’ve all been waiting for. It’s the mega-continent bingo card for those of you that want a REAL challenge. I mean, it’s literally huge. I’m not even sorry. You better get reading!

You can tackle this HOWEVER you want! I think I’m going to use this for the rest of the year (and let’s be honest, next year too, basically just all the years to come), to guide my reading. My endgame is to get 2 horizontal bingo lines, one across the top 3 continents, and the second across the bottom 3.

I would absolutely love it if you guys joined in – even if that’s picking up just one or two books that you wouldn’t have usually. Remember to use the hashtag #NOTUKYA if you decide to tackle any part of this challenge, and tag me so I can share it.

And here’s the – by all means not comprehensive – master list of books from around the world. Thank you so much to everyone who suggested books to add to this list … and please keep them coming! I want this to be a list that grows and grows as more wonderful books get published.


A quick note – the challenge is called #NOTUKYA, but this master list incorporates books from lots of different genres – not just YA.


* own voice (In this context, I am using own voice to mean the author is from the specified country)
(NF) – non fiction
(A) – Autobiography
(SS) – Short story / short story collection


Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese *
Love, Siri and Ebba by Siri Fraser and Ebba Pederson

The Gambia
Reading the Ceiling by Dayo Forster *

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi *

Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor *
Out of Africa by Karen Blixen

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma *
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma *
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie *
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite *
The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibunda Onuzo *
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie * (SS)
Welcome to Lagos by Chibunda Onuzo *

Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye *

Sierra Leone
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishamel Beah * (A)

The Caged Virgin by Ayaan Hirsi Ali *

South Africa
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah * (A)
When Morning Comes by Arushi Raina *
You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr

I Am Change by Suzy Zail

We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo *


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini *
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini *
The Lightless Sky by Gulwali Passarlay * (A)
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
The Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson
Goodnight, Rose by Chi Zijian *
The Moon Opera by Bi Feiyu *
Secrets of the Great Fire Tree by Justine Laismith
Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin * (Translator: Ken Liu)

Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai *
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy *
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar *
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Sold by Patricia McCormick
The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergil Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal *
When I Hit You by Mean Kandasamy *

Saman by Ayu Utami *

A Pigeon and a Boy by Meir Shalev *

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki *
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata *
Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami * (Translator: Louise Keal Kawai)
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata * (Translator: Edward G. Seidensticker)
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa * (Translator: Philip Gabriel)

The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine *

The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka *

North Korea
Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-yong

Dear Yasmeen by Sophia Khan *
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai * (A)

Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout * (Translator: Perween Richards) (SS)

Saudia Arabia
Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea *

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan *

South Korea
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang *
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
The Vegetarian by Han Kang *
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho *

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan *

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Love from A to Z
by S.K. Ali


The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig *

Girl At War by Sara Nović 

Czech Republic
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera * (Translator: Michael Henry Heim)

Let Me Find You by Julie Valima

The Book of Wonders by Julien Sandrel *
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Walking on the Ceiling by Aysegül Savas

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink  *
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Tiger Milk by Stefanie de Velasco *

The Island by Victoria Hislop

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

The Book of Riga by Juris Zvirgzdinš (SS)
Doom 94 by Jānis Joņevs * (Translator: Kaija Straumanis)
The Secret Box by Daina Tabūna * (Translator: Jayde Will)
Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena * (Translator: Margita Gailitis)

The Netherlands
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank * (A)
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Naïve. Super by Erlend Loe *

Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali
The Company of Strangers by Robert Wilson
Cork Boat by John Pollack (A)
The Day of Atonement by David Liss
The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier (Translator: Barbara Harshav)
Skylight by José Saramago *
A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson
Tango in Madeira by Jim Williams
300 Days of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson

Five Chimneys: A Woman Survivor’s True Story of Auschwitz by Olga Lengyel *
Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy *

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman *
The Circle by Mats Strandberg *and Sara Bergmark Elfgren *(Translator: Friederike Buchinger)

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

North America

What We All Long For by Dionne Brand *

The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Núñez

Dominican Republic
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz *

El Salvador
Ashes of Izalco by Claribel Alegría and Darwin J Flakoll

The Black Jackobins by C.L.R. James * (NF)

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn *
How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs *

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel *
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by F.G. Haghenback *
The Wild Book by Juan Villoro * (Translator: Lawrence Schimel)

The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez

Puerto Rico
When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

U.S. Virgin Islands
Hurricane Child by Karen Callender *

South America

The Disappeared by Gloria Whelan
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez *

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha *

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez *

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende *
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende *

The Queen of Water by Laura Resau

The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya

Who killed Palomino Molero? by Mario Vargas Llosa *

Trinidad and Tobago
Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson *
Golden Child by Claire Adam
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey *
The Yard by Aliyyah Eniath *


Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough *
Am I Black Enough For You? by Anita Heiss *
The Dry by Jane Harper *
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland *
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Linsay *
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas *
The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden *
Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts *

Keeper of the Night by Kimberly Willis Holt

Papua New Guinea
Euphoria by Lily King

New Zealand
The Bone People by Keri Hulme *
The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield *
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera *

Books set in multiple places

Spain, Egypt, Morocco
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

France, Germany
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Czech Republic, Morocco
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Poland, Canada
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

Korea, Japan
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia
New Baltic Poetry by Jayde Will

Turkey, France, Egypt, Germany
Last Train to Istanbul by Ayşe Kulin (Translator: John W. Baker)

A Fictional Pacific Island
Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I hope you find this master list helpful and that it inspires you to read more books set outside of the UK. If you see any errors in the lists, or if you have any suggestions of books to add, please let me know in a comment and I’ll add them.

UKYA is so wonderful, but it’s important to not only read UKYA. I really hope you guys enjoy the challenge as much as I had fun creating it! I can’t wait to see what books you end up picking up and giving a go!

Right … I better get reading!

9 thoughts on “#NOTUKYA Challenge: Reading Books from Around the World

  1. This is a great list! It must have taken you ages to compile them. I am humbled as I have only read a few on the list. Here are two I can suggest to add to your list:
    Japan : Shadow of the Fox
    China : Secrets of the Great Fire Tree
    I am going to bookmark this page and read books on your list.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Omgg, first off, those bingo cards are *adorable*! This is also such a good idea for a reading challenge! I’m always scared to start reading challenges because I don’t know if I can complete them, but I’m definitely saving those bingo cards and I’m going to try my best to read around the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much, I’m so glad you like them! Also I completely agree, which is why I didn’t put any deadline on it or anything. Sometimes that’s just too much pressure! Let me know or use #NOTUKYA if you do read some books, I’d love to see!


  3. Pingback: The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout (Translated by Perween Richards) | Book review – Travels in Fiction

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