A selection of fiction and nonfiction books written by Black authors for readers of all ages.
This list is far from exhaustive and we are always open to including new titles. If you have recommendations for books by Black authors to add, please contact us.
Many of the titles present here are about race and racism, however this list is intended to showcase Black voices across a whole range of subjects and genres. For more books about race and racism specifically, please see our Antiracist Reading list.
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*SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 BOOKER PRIZE*
From the award-winning author of the Booker Prize finalist We Need New Names, an anthropomorphic blockbuster of a novel that chronicles the fall of an oppressive regime, and the chaotic, kinetic potential for real liberation that rises in its wake.
Glory centres around the unexpected fall of Old Horse, a long-serving, tyrannical leader of the fictional country of Jidada, and the drama that follows for a rumbustious nation of animals on the precarious path to freedom. Inspired by the unexpected fall by coup, in November 2017, of Robert Mugabe--Zimbabwe's president of nearly four decades--Bulawayo's bold, vividly imagined novel shows a country imploding, narrated by a chorus of animal voices who unveil the ruthlessness and cold strategy required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, and the imagination and bullet-proof fortitude to overthrow it completely.
As with her debut novel We Need New Names, Bulawayo's fierce voice and lucid imagery immerses us in the daily life of a traumatized nation, revealing the dazzling life force and irrepressible wit that lies barely concealed beneath the surface of seemingly bleak circumstances. At the centre of this tumult is Destiny, who has returned to Jidada from exile to bear witness to revolution and brings into focus the unofficial history and the potential legacy of the remarkable women who have quietly pulled the strings in this country. The animal kingdom--its connection to our primal responses and resonance in the mythology, folktales, and fairytales that define cultures the world over--unmasks the surreality of contemporary global politics to help us understand our world more clearly, even as Bulwayo plucks us right out of it.
Glory is a blockbuster, an exhilarating ride, and crystalizes a turning point in history with the texture and nuance that only the greatest of fiction can.
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A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK
Named a Best Book Pick of 2021 by Harper's Bazaar and Real Simple
Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall by People, Essence, New York Post, PopSugar, New York Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Town & Country, Bustle, Fortune, and Book Riot
Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event--a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives.
Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.
But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen's husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband's freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.
Like Tayari Jones's An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things, We Are Not Like Them explores complex questions of race and how they pervade and shape our most intimate spaces in a deeply divided world. But at its heart, it's a story of enduring friendship--a love that defies the odds even as it faces its most difficult challenges.
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A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK | AN AMAZON BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
"A beautiful exploration of the often complex parameters of freedom, prejudice, and individual sense of self. Chibundu Onuzo has written a captivating story about a mixed-race British woman who goes in search of the West African father she never knew . . . [A] beautiful book about a woman brave enough to discover her true identity." --Reese Witherspoon
"Onuzo's sneakily breezy, highly entertaining novel leaves the reader rethinking familiar narratives of colonization, inheritance and liberation." --The New York Times Book Review
Named a Best Book of the Month by Entertainment Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, and Time o Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Month by Goodreads, PopSugar, PureWow, LitHub, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and Buzzfeed
A woman wondering who she really is goes in search of a father she never knew--only to find something far more complicated than she ever expected--in this "stirring narrative about family, our capacity to change and the need to belong" (Time).
Anna is at a stage of her life when she's beginning to wonder who she really is. In her 40s, she has separated from her husband, her daughter is all grown up, and her mother--the only parent who raised her--is dead.
Searching through her mother's belongings one day, Anna finds clues about the African father she never knew. His student diaries chronicle his involvement in radical politics in 1970s London. Anna discovers that he eventually became the president--some would say dictator--of a small nation in West Africa. And he is still alive...
When Anna decides to track her father down, a journey begins that is disarmingly moving, funny, and fascinating. Like the metaphorical bird that gives the novel its name, Sankofa expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present to address universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for a family's hidden roots.
Examining freedom, prejudice, and personal and public inheritance, Sankofa is a story for anyone who has ever gone looking for a clear identity or home, and found something more complex in its place.
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * KIRKUS PRIZE FINALIST FOR FICTION * NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST FOR FICTION * NAACP IMAGE AWARD FINALIST FOR OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK--FICTION
From two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s.
"Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked. . . ."
To his customers and neighbours on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver's Row don't approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it's still home.
Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger and bigger all the time. See, cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace at the furniture store, Ray doesn't see the need to ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweller downtown who also doesn't ask questions. Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plans to rob the Hotel Theresa--the "Waldorf of Harlem"--and volunteers Ray's services as the fence. The heist doesn't go as planned; they rarely do, after all. Now Ray has to cater to a new clientele, one made up of shady cops on the take, vicious minions of the local crime lord and numerous other Harlem lowlifes.
Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he starts to see the truth about who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs?
Harlem Shuffle is driven by an ingeniously intricate plot that plays out in a beautifully recreated Harlem of the early 1960s. It's a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem. But mostly, it's a joy to read, another dazzling novel from the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning Colson Whitehead.
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"All Her Little Secrets is a brilliantly nuanced but powerhouse exploration of race, the legal system, and the crushing pressure of keeping secrets. Morris brings a vibrant and welcome new voice to the thriller space." --Karin Slaughter, New York Times and international bestselling author
In this fast-paced thriller, Wanda M. Morris crafts a twisty mystery about a black lawyer who gets caught in a dangerous conspiracy after the sudden death of her boss . . . A debut perfect for fans of Attica Locke, Alyssa Cole, Harlan Coben, and Celeste Ng, with shades of How to Get Away with Murder and John Grisham's The Firm.
Everyone has something to hide...
Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends, and a "for fun" relationship with a rich, charming executive, who just happens to be her white boss. But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice arrives in the executive suite and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head.
And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who's spent time on the other side of the law. She can't be thrust into the spotlight--again.
But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company's lone black attorney, is promoted to replace her boss. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can't shake the feeling that something is off.
When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice's past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined...
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"Masterfully written and pitch perfect, Black Girls Must Be Magic is, simply, magic."--Good Morning America
In this highly anticipated second installment in the Black Girls Must Die Exhausted series, Tabitha Walker copes with more of life's challenges and a happy surprise--a baby--with a little help and lots of love from friends old and new.
For Tabitha Walker, her grandmother's old adage, "Black girls must die exhausted" is becoming all too true. Discovering she's pregnant--after she was told she may not be able to have biological children--Tabitha throws herself headfirst into the world of "single mothers by choice." Between her job, doctor's appointments, and preparing for the baby, she's worn out. And that's before her boss at the local news station starts getting complaints from viewers about Tabitha's natural hair.
When an unexpected turn of events draws Marc--her on and off-again ex-boyfriend--back into her world with surprising demands, and the situation at work begins to threaten her livelihood and her identity, Tabitha must make some tough decisions about her and her baby's future. It takes a village to raise a child, and Tabitha turns to the women who have always been there for her.
Bolstered by the fierce support of Ms. Gretchen, her grandmother's best friend, the counsel of her closest friends Laila and Alexis, and the calming presence of her doula Andouele, Tabitha must find a way to navigate motherhood on her own terms. Will she harness the bravery, strength, and self-love she'll need to keep "the village" together, find her voice at work, and settle things with Marc before the baby arrives?
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"Modern and fresh...I adore Yinka" Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation
Meet Yinka: a thirty-something Oxford-educated, British Nigerian woman whose mother's constant refrain is "Yinka, where is your huzband?"
Yinka's Nigerian aunties frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, her work friends think she's too traditional, her girlfriends think she needs to get over her ex already, and the men in her life . . . well, that's a whole other story. But Yinka herself has always believed that true love will find her, and when her cousin Rachel gets engaged, Yinka commences Operation Wedding Date. Aided by a spreadsheet and her best friend, Yinka is determined to succeed.
Wry, acerbic, moving, Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? brilliantly subverts the traditional romantic comedy with an unconventional heroine and a love story that makes you smile but also makes you think--and explores what it means to find your way between two cultures, both of which are yours.
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SHORTLISTED for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2021 o WINNER of the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021 o SHORTLISTED for the Chinua Achebe Prize for Nigerian Writing 2021 o WINNER of the SprinNG Women Authors Prize 2020 o WINNER of the Best International Fiction Book Award, Sharjah International Book Fair 2019
"The Son of the House is a compelling novel about two women caught in a constricting web of tradition, class, gender, and motherhood." -- FOREWORD REVIEWS, starred review
The lives of two Nigerian women divided by class and social inequality intersect when they're kidnapped, held captive, and forced to await their fate together.
In the Nigerian city of Enugu, young Nwabulu, a housemaid since the age of ten, dreams of becoming a typist as she endures her employers' endless chores. She is tall and beautiful and in love with a rich man's son.
Educated and privileged, Julie is a modern woman. Living on her own, she is happy to collect the gold jewellery lovestruck Eugene brings her, but has no intention of becoming his second wife.
When a kidnapping forces Nwabulu and Julie into a dank room years later, the two women relate the stories of their lives as they await their fate.
Pulsing with vitality and intense human drama, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia's debut is set against four decades of vibrant Nigeria, celebrating the resilience of women as they navigate and transform what remains a man's world.
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Personal, primordial, and pulsing with syncopated language, Tolu Oloruntoba?s poetic debut, The Junta of Happenstance, is a compendium of dis-ease. This includes disease in the traditional sense, as informed by the poet?s time as a physician, and dis-ease as a primer for family dysfunction, the (im)migrant experience, and urban / corporate anxiety. In the face of struggles against social injustice, Oloruntoba navigates the contemporary moment with empathy and intelligence, finding beauty in chaos, and strength in suffering. The Junta of Happenstance is an important and assured debut.
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HERITAGE TORONTO 2022 BOOK AWARD NOMINEE From basketball hoops to cricket bats, the role community sports play in our cities and how crucial they are to diversity and inclusion. "The virus exposed how we live and work. It also revealed how we play, and what we lose when we have to stop." For every kid who makes it to the NBA, thousands more seek out the pleasure and camaraderie of pick-up basketball in their local community centre or neighbourhood park. It's a story that plays out in sport after sport - team and individual, youth and adult, men's and women's. While the dazzle of pro athletes may command our attention, grassroots sports build the bridges that link city-dwellers together in ways that go well beyond the physical benefits. The pandemic and heightened awareness of racial exclusion reminded us of the importance of these pastimes and the public spaces where we play. In this closely reported exploration of the role of community sports in diverse cities, Toronto journalist Perry King makes an impassioned case for re-imagining neighbourhoods whose residents can be active, healthy, and connected. "I couldn't stop reading Perry King's Rebound. An evocative essay about the transformative and uniting power of local sports in a city with residents from every country in the world, the book is well researched, entertaining, and informative. It spoke to my own experiences as a young athlete fitting into a new city when I first came to Toronto - and to the importance our city government must place on local recreation and sports if our city is to help all residents reach their potential. A fantastic contribution to understanding Toronto - and to the power of local recreation in any major city." --David Miller, former mayor of Toronto
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In this sweeping, allusive novel, the celebrated poet, dervish, and oral storyteller Tawhida Tanya Evanson comes to terms with what it means to stand on one's own two feet in an uncertain world. The acclaimed Antiguan-Canadian artist traces a global journey from Vancouver to the United States, Caribbean, Paris, and Morocco as a relationship with her lover and travel partner disintegrates and she finds herself on a path toward personal discovery and spiritual fulfillment that leads her deep into the North African landscape.
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"WELCOME TO THE CYPHER is a delight to read--a story that will move every part of you to a wild and wonderful beat." --Jael Richardson, Author and Executive Director, The Festival of Literary Diversity "WELCOME TO THE CYPHER is a beautiful, rhythmic exploration of the joy of language and self-expression. Our whole family loved how the bright illustrations and the bold words pulled us through this gorgeous book ...We're HUGE fans!" --Bestselling authors, Alice Kuipers (the Polly Diamond series) & Yann Martel (Life of Pi) Words burn bright in this joyful celebration of rap, creativity, and self-expression. "Welcome to the cypher! Now huddle up nice and snug. You feel that circle around you? Well, that's a hip hop hug!" Starting with beatboxes and fingersnaps, an exuberant narrator introduces kids in his community to the powerful possibilities of rap, from turning "a simple phrase/into imagery that soars" to proclaiming, "this is a voice that represents me!" As Khodi Dill's rhymes heat up, the diverse crew of kids--illustrated in Awuradwoa Afful's bold, energetic style--gain self-confidence and a sense of freedom in this wonderful picture book debut that is perfect for reading aloud.
Young adult hardcover
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"This is an excellent examination of the ways wealth, gender, and color can shape and at times create mental and emotional fractures. Verdict: A great title for public and high school libraries looking for books that offer a nuanced look at patriarchy, wealth, and gender dynamics." --School Library Journal (starred review)
"Bromfield may have made a name for herself for her role on Riverdale, but with this debut, about a volatile father-daughter relationship and discovering the ugly truths hidden beneath even the most beautiful facades, she is establishing herself as a promising writer...this is a must." --Booklist (starred review)
In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to the heart of Jamaica, and into the soul of a girl coming to terms with her family, and herself, set against the backdrop of a hurricane.
Tilla has spent her entire life trying to make her father love her. But every six months, he leaves their family and returns to his true home: the island of Jamaica.
When Tilla's mother tells her she'll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.
In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise--all in the midst of an impending hurricane.
Hurricane Summer is a powerful coming of age story that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic--and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.
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"Contemporary female friendship goes glam in this lively debut novel with remarkable depth." -- Washington Post
"Great fun and extremely smart." -- npr.org
NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2022 BY Vogue * Marie Claire * Glamour * Essence * Oprah Daily * Entertainment Weekly * Bustle * PopSugar * CrimeReads * and more!
An incisive and exhilarating debut novel following three Anglo-Nigerian best friends and the lethally glamorous fourth woman who infiltrates their group--the most unforgettable girls since Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha.
Ronke wants happily ever after and 2.2. kids. She's dating Kayode and wants him to be "the one" (perfect, like her dead father). Her friends think he's just another in a long line of dodgy Nigerian boyfriends.
Boo has everything Ronke wants--a kind husband, gorgeous child. But she's frustrated, unfulfilled, plagued by guilt, and desperate to remember who she used to be.
Simi is the golden one with the perfect lifestyle. No one knows she's crippled by impostor syndrome and tempted to pack it all in each time her boss mentions her "urban vibe." Her husband thinks they're trying for a baby. She's not.
When the high-flying, charismatic Isobel explodes into the group, it seems at first she's bringing out the best in each woman. (She gets Simi an interview in Shanghai! Goes jogging with Boo!) But the more Isobel intervenes, the more chaos she sows, and Ronke, Simi, and Boo's close friendship begins to crack.
A sharp, modern take on friendship, ambition, culture, and betrayal, Wahala (trouble) is an unforgettable novel from a brilliant new voice.
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A fresh take on the romance novel from the Giller Prize-winning author of Fifteen Dogs From their first meeting, it was clear that Gwen and Tancred were meant to be together. But, as we know, the course of true love never did run smooth. Gwen's mother, intuiting that her daughter is in love, gives her a magic ring that has been passed down through endless generations of mothers and daughters. This ring grants its wearer the opportunity to change three things about her beloved. Like all blessings, this may also be a curse. Ring turns the literary romance upside down and shakes out its pockets. It's a playful meditation on the past, on magic, on race, on honour, on faith, and, yes, on love. Following on the heels of Pastoral, Fifteen Dogs, The Hidden Keys, and Days by Moonlight, Ring completes Alexis's Quincunx, a group of five genre-bending, philosophically sophisticated, and utterly delightful novels. One of CBC Books The Best Canadian Fiction of 2021 One of The Globe and Mail's Best Books of 2021 "A great novel doesn't try to answer questions, but, like Days by Moonlight, complicates them. " --The Globe and Mail on Days by Moonlight "This imaginative travelogue will amuse readers even as it raises weightier issues. " --Publishers Weekly on Days by Moonlight "I'm far from being a dog person, but as a book person I loved this smart, exuberant fantasy from start to finish. " --The Guardian on Fifteen Dogs "A clever exploration of our essence, communication, and how our societies are organized. " --Kirkus Reviews on Fifteen Dogs "Ring raises questions about love, marriage, fidelity, and the divine." --Canadian Writers Abroad "A tour de force by an accomplished writer, Ring reminds us there are still mysteries in the world that are well worth exploring."Â --Necessary Fiction