JAMB Syllabus for Literature 2023 – With Recommended Textbooks

JAMB Syllabus for Literature in English- Are you planning to take the JAMB examination this year? Do you need the most up-to-date JAMB Syllabus for Literature in English? If so, you’ve come to the right place! We have compiled all the key areas of focus and recommended textbooks for the Literature in English section of the JAMB UTME.

If you have already registered for the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), commonly known as JAMB, or if you are considering doing so, it’s crucial to prepare adequately in order to achieve a score of 300 and above.

One of the most important aspects of your preparation is having the right study materials and books. The JAMB Syllabus for Literature in English is available to help students get ready and perform well. This syllabus outlines all the subject areas and the corresponding textbooks that candidates should have.

What makes JAMB Syllabus for Literature in English particularly valuable is that JAMB provides explanations of the expected outcomes for each topic. This ensures that you are not caught off guard by the questions that will be asked.

The following is the list of recommended textbooks for the JAMB Syllabus for Literature;


  • Obafemi. O. and Agoi (eds) Of Shadows and Rainbows – Musings in Times of Covid (An Anthology of Poems, Plays, and Short Stories) PEN Nigeria, Online
  • Hayward, J. (ed.) (1968) The Penguin Book of English Verse, London: Penguin
  • Johnson, R. et al. (eds.) (1996) New Poetry from Africa, Ibadan: UP Plc
  • Kermode, F. et al. (1964) Oxford Anthology of English Literature, Vol. II, London: OUP
  • Nduke Ofiono and Odoh Diego Okenyodo (eds) Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria, an Anthology of New Nigerian Writers, Mace Books Association, 2021, New edition.
  • Parker, E.W. (ed.) (1980) A Peagent of Longer Poems London: Longman
  • Senanu, K. E. and Vincent, T. (eds.) (1993) A Selection of African Poetry, Lagos: Longman
  • Soyinka, W. (ed.) (1987) Poems of Black Africa, Ibadan: Heinemann

Critical Text

  • Abrams, M. H. (1981) A Glossary of Literary Terms, (4th Edition) New York, Holt Rinehart and Winston
  • Emeaba, O. E. (1982)A Dictionary of Literature, Aba: Inteks Press
  • Murphy, M. J. (1972) Understanding Unseen, An Introduction to English Poetry and English Novel for Overseas Students, George Allen and Unwin Ltd.

JAMB Literature in English Syllabus 2023



1. Types:

  • Tragedy
  • Comedy
  • Tragicomedy
  • Melodrama
  • Farce
  • Opera etc.

2. Dramatic Techniques

  • Characterization
  • Dialogue
  • Flashback
  • Mime
  • Costume
  • Music/Dance
  • Decor/scenery
  • Acts/Scenes
  • Soliloquy/aside
  • Lighting etc.

3. Interpretation of the Prescribed Texts

  • Theme
  • Plot
  • Socio-political context
  • Setting


Candidates should be able to:

  • Identify the various types of drama;
  • Analyze the contents of the various types of drama;
  • Compare and contrast the features of different dramatic types;
  • Demonstrate adequate knowledge of dramatic techniques used in each prescribed text;
  • Differentiate between styles of selected playwrights;
  • Determine the theme of any prescribed text;
  • Identify the plot of the play;
  • Apply the lessons of the play to everyday living
  • Identify the spatial and temporal setting of the play.



1. Types:

  •  Fiction
    – Novel
    – Novella/Novelette
    – Short story
  • Non-fiction
    – Biography
    – Autobiography
    – Memoir
  • Faction: a combination of fact and fiction

2. Narrative Techniques/Devices:

  • Point of view
    – Omniscient/Third Person
    – First Person
  • Characterization
    – Round, flat, foil, hero, antihero, etc
  • Language

3. Textual Analysis

  • Theme
  • Plot
  • Setting (Temporal/Spatial)
  • Socio-political context


Candidates should be able to:

  • Differentiate between types of prose;
  • Identify the category that each prescribed text belongs to;
  • Analyze the components of each type of prose;
  • Identify the narrative techniques used in each of the prescribed texts;
  • Determine an author’s narrative style;
  • Distinguish between one type of character from another;
  • Determine the thematic pre-occupation of the author of the prescribed text;
  • Indicate the plot of the novel; identify the temporal and spatial setting of the novel.
  • Identify the temporal and spatial setting of the novel
  • Relate the prescribed text to real-life situations.



1. Types:

  • Sonnet
  • Ode
  • Lyrics
  • Elegy
  • Ballad
  • Panegyric
  • Epic
  • Blank Verse, etc.

2. Poetic devices

  • Structure
  • Imagery
  • Sound(Rhyme/Rhythm, repetition, pun, onomatopoeia, etc.)
  • Diction
  • Persona

3. Appreciation

  • Thematic preoccupation
  • Socio-political relevance
  • Style.


Candidates should be able to:

  • Identify different types of poetry;
  • Compare and contrast the features of different poetic types:
  • Determine the devices used by various poets;
  • Show how poetic devices are used for aesthetic effect in each poem;
  • Deduce the poet’s preoccupation from the poem;
  • Appraise poetry as an art with moral values;
  • Apply the lessons from the poem to real-life situations.



  • Literary terms:
    foreshadowing, suspense, theatre, monologue, dialogue, soliloquy, symbolism, protagonist, antagonist, figures of speech, satire, stream of consciousness, synecdoche, metonymy, etc, in addition to those listed above under the different genres.
  • Literary principles
    i. Direct imitation in play;
    ii. Versification in drama and poetry;
    iii. Narration of people’s experiences;
    iv. Achievement of aesthetic value, etc.
  • Relationship between literary terms and principles.


Candidates should be able to:

  • Identify literary terms in drama, prose, and poetry;
  • Identify the general principles of Literature;
  • Differentiate between literary terms and principles;
  • Use literary terms appropriately.



  • Unseen passages/extracts from Drama, Prose, and Poetry.


Candidates should be able to:

  • Determine literary devices used in a given passage/extract;
  • Provide a meaningful interpretation of the given passage/extract;
  • Relate the extract to true life experiences.

JAMB Literature Novel 2023



  •  Frank Ogodo Ogbeche: Harvest of Corruption


  • William Shakespeare: Othello


  • Amma Darko: Faceless
  • Bayo Adebowale: Lonely Days


  • Richard Wright: Native Son



  • Birago Diop: Vanity
  • Gbemisola Adeoti: Ambush
  • Gabriel Okara: Piano and Drums
  •  Gbanabam Hallowell: The Dining Table
  • Lenrie Peter: The Panic of Growing Older
  • Kofi Awoonor: The Anvil and the Hammer


  • Alfred Tennyson: Crossing the Bar
  • George Herbert: The Pulley
  • William Blake: The School Boy
  • William Morris: The Proud King

JAMB Literature in English Text

Here is the list of texts for the JAMB Literature in English;


  • African: The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka
  • Non-African: Look Back in Anger by John Osborne


  • African:
    • Unexpected Joy at Dawn by Alex Agyei-Agyir
    • Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta
  • Non-African;
    • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


  • African:
    • Black Woman by Leopold Sedar Senghor
    • The Leader and the Led by Niyi Osundare
    • The Grieved Lands by Agostino Neto
    • The Song of the Woman of My Land by Oumar Farouk Sesay
    • Raider of the Treasure Trove by Lade Wosornu
    • A Government Driver on His Retirement by Onu Chibuike
  • Non-African
    • The Good Morrow by John Donne
    • Caged Bird by Maya Angelou
    • The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Elliot
    • Bats by D.H. Lawrence

Be sure to do your best to cover JAMB Syllabus for Literature in English if you are looking to ace the examination. Good luck with your preparation – JAMB Syllabus for Literature in English

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