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Black Voices

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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The Broken Earth Trilogy

- by N.k. Jemisin

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This collectable boxed set edition includes all three books in N. K. Jemisin's incredible NYT bestselling and three-time Hugo award-winning Broken Earth Trilogy.

This complete collection would be a great gift for any occasion and includes The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky.

This is the way the world ends for the last time. . .

A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

The Fifth Season

- by N.k. Jemisin

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At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

This is the way the world ends. . .for the last time.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

Read the first book in the critically acclaimed, three-time Hugo award-winning trilogy by NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Pastoral

- by Andre Alexis

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André Alexis brings a modern sensibility and a new liveliness to an age-old genre, the pastoral. SHORTLISTED FOR THE WRITERS' TRUST OF CANADA FICTION PRIZE ONE OF THE GLOBE AND MAIL'S GLOBE 100: BEST BOOKS OF 2014 There were plans for an official welcome. It was to take place the following Sunday. But those who came to the rectory on Father Pennant's second day were the ones who could not resist seeing him sooner. Here was the man to whomthey would confess the darkest things. It was important to feel him out. Mrs. Young, for instance, after she had watched him eat a piece of her macaroni pie, quietly asked what he thought of adultery. For his very first parish, Father Christopher Pennant is sent to the sleepy town of Barrow. With more sheep than people, it is sleepily bucolic - toomuch Barrow Brew on Barrow Day is the rowdiest it gets. But things aren't so idyllic for Liz Denny, whose fiancé; doesn't want to choose between Liz and his more worldly lover Jane, or for Father Pennant himself, whose faith is profoundly shaken by the miracles he witnesses - a mayor walking on water, intelligent gypsy moths and a talking sheep.

The Hidden Keys

- by Andre Alexis

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 TRILLIUM BOOK AWARD NATIONAL POST 99 BEST BOOKS OF 2016 Giller Prize winner André Alexis's contemporary take on the quest narrative is an instant classic. Parkdale's Green Dolphin is a bar of ill repute, and it is there that Tancred Palmieri, a thief with elegant and erudite tastes, meets Willow Azarian, an aging heroin addict. She reveals to Tancred that her very wealthy father has recently passed away, leaving each of his five children a mysterious object that provides one clue to the whereabouts of a large inheritance. Willow enlists Tancred to steal these objects from her siblings and help her solve the puzzle. A Japanese screen, a painting that plays music, a bottle of aquavit, a framed poem and a model of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater: Tancred is lured in to this beguiling quest, and even though Willow dies before the puzzle is solved, he presses on. As he tracks down the treasure, he must enlist the help of Alexander von Würfel, conceptual artist and taxidermist to the wealthy, and fend off Willow's heroin dealers, a young albino named 'Nigger' Colby and his sidekick, Sigismund 'Freud' Luxemburg, a clubfooted psychopath, both of whom are eager to get their hands on this supposed pot of gold. And he must mislead Detective Daniel Mandelshtam, his most adored friend. Inspired by a reading of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, The Hidden Keys questions what it means to be honourable, what it means to be faithful and what it means to sin.

Days by Moonlight

- by Andre Alexis

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Gulliver's Travels meets The Underground Railroad: a road trip through the countryside - and the psyche - by the author of Fifteen Dogs. Botanist Alfred Homer, ever hopeful and constantly surprised, is invited on a road trip by his parents' friend, Professor Morgan Bruno, who wants company as he tries to unearth the story of the mysterious poet John Skennen. But this is no ordinary road trip. Alfred and the Professor encounter towns where Black residents speak only in sign language and towns that hold Indigenous Parades; it is a land of house burnings, werewolves, and witches. Complete with Alfred's drawings of plants both real and implausible, Days by Moonlight is a Dantesque journey taken during the "hour of the wolf," that time of day when the sun is setting and the traveller can't tell the difference between dog and wolf. And it asks that perpetual question: how do we know the things we know are real, and what is real anyway?

Fifteen Dogs

- by Andre Alexis

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An utterly convincing and moving look at the beauty and perils of consciousness. WINNER OF CANADA READS 2017 WINNER OF THE 2015 GILLER PRIZE WINNER OF THE 2015 ROGERS WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE FINALIST FOR THE 2015 TORONTO BOOK AWARDS -- I wonder, said Hermes, what it would be like if animals had human intelligence. --I'll wager a year's servitude, answered Apollo, that animals - any animal you like - would be even more unhappy than humans are, if they were given human intelligence. And so it begins: a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto veterinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferringthe old 'dog' ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into their newly unfamiliar world, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks. André Alexis's contemporary take on the apologue offers an utterly compelling and affecting look at the beauty and perils of human consciousness. By turns meditative and devastating, charming and strange, Fifteen Dogs shows you can teach an old genre new tricks.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

- by Marlon James

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"A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made." --Neil Gaiman

"Gripping, action-packed....The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

In this epic, internationally bestselling novel from Marlon James, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, myth, fantasy and history merge in the stunning story of a mercenary's quest to find a missing child. 


Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Hired to find a mysterious boy who has disappeared, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group assembled to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as the Leopard. 

As Tracker follows the boy's scent, he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he fights for survival, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep the boy from being found? And perhaps most important of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all.

Reproduction

- by Ian Williams

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WINNER OF THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A PENGUIN BOOK CLUB PICK

A hilarious, surprising and poignant love story about the way families are invented, told with the savvy of a Zadie Smith and with an inventiveness all Ian Williams' own, Reproduction explores unconventional connections and brilliantly redefines family.


Felicia and Edgar meet as their mothers are dying. Felicia, a teen from an island nation, and Edgar, the lazy heir of a wealthy German family, come together only because their mothers share a hospital room. When Felicia's mother dies and Edgar's "Mutter" does not, Felicia drops out of high school and takes a job as Mutter's caregiver. While Felicia and Edgar don't quite understand each other, and Felicia recognizes that Edgar is selfish, arrogant, and often unkind, they form a bond built on grief (and proximity) that results in the birth of a son Felicia calls Armistice. Or Army, for short.
     Some years later, Felicia and Army (now 14) are living in the basement of a home owned by Oliver, a divorced man of Portuguese descent who has two kids--the teenaged Heather and the odd little Hendrix. Along with Felicia and Army, they form an unconventional family, except that Army wants to sleep with Heather, and Oliver wants to kill Army. Then Army's fascination with his absent father--and his absent father's money--begins to grow as odd gifts from Edgar begin to show up. And Felicia feels Edgar's unwelcome shadow looming over them. A brutal assault, a mortal disease, a death, and a birth reshuffle this group of people again to form another version of the family.
     Reproduction is a profoundly insightful exploration of the bizarre ways people become bonded that insists that family isn't a matter of blood.

Born a Crime

- by Trevor Noah

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The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
 
Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa's tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
           
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man's relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother--his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
           
The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

- by Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS's American Masters.

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
 
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother's side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age--and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
 
Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity."--James Baldwin

Homegoing

- by Yaa Gyasi

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A PENGUIN BOOK CLUB PICK

"Homegoing is an inspiration." --Ta-Nehisi Coates 


An unforgettable New York Times bestseller of exceptional scope and sweeping vision that traces the descendants of two sisters across three hundred years in Ghana and America.


A riveting kaleidoscopic debut novel and the beginning of a major career: Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing is a novel about race, history, ancestry, love and time, charting the course of two sisters torn apart in 18th century Africa through to the present day.
     Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonist, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising "half-caste" children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon, before being shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery.
     Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi has written a modern masterpiece, a novel that moves through histories and geographies and--with outstanding economy and force--captures the intricacies of the troubled yet hopeful human spirit.

My Sister, the Serial Killer

- by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE o "A taut and darkly funny contemporary noir that moves at lightning speed, it's the wittiest and most fun murder party you've ever been invited to." --MARIE CLAIRE

Korede's sister Ayoola is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead, stabbed through the heart with Ayoola's knife.

Korede's practicality is the sisters' saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood (bleach, bleach, and more bleach), the best way to move a body (wrap it in sheets like a mummy), and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures to Instagram when she should be mourning her "missing" boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she's exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she's willing to go to protect her.

Girl, Woman, Other

- by Bernardine Evaristo

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE "A must-read about modern Britain and womanhood . . . An impressive, fierce novel about the lives of black British families, their struggles, pains, laughter, longings and loves . . . Her style is passionate, razor-sharp, brimming with energy and humor. There is never a single moment of dullness in this book and the pace does not allow you to turn away from its momentum." --Booker Prize Judges Bernardine Evaristo is the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize and the first black woman to receive this highest literary honor in the English language. Girl, Woman, Other is a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a moving and hopeful story of an interconnected group of Black British women that paints a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and looks back to the legacy of Britain's colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean. The twelve central characters of this multi-voiced novel lead vastly different lives: Amma is a newly acclaimed playwright whose work often explores her Black lesbian identity; her old friend Shirley is a teacher, jaded after decades of work in London's funding-deprived schools; Carole, one of Shirley's former students, is a successful investment banker; Carole's mother Bummi works as a cleaner and worries about her daughter's lack of rootedness despite her obvious achievements. From a nonbinary social media influencer to a 93-year-old woman living on a farm in Northern England, these unforgettable characters also intersect in shared aspects of their identities, from age to race to sexuality to class. Sparklingly witty and filled with emotion, centering voices we often see othered, and written in an innovative fast-moving form that borrows technique from poetry, Girl, Woman, Other is a polyphonic and richly textured social novel that shows a side of Britain we rarely see, one that reminds us of all that connects us to our neighbors, even in times when we are encouraged to be split apart.

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

- by Reni Eddo-lodge

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"This is a book that was begging to be written. This is the kind of book that demands a future where we'll no longer need such a book. Essential." --Marlon James

"The most important book for me this year." --Emma Watson

Selected by Emma Watson as the Our Shared Shelf Book Club Pick for January/February 2018
Sunday Times Bestseller
Winner of the British Book Awards Nonfiction Narrative Book of the Year
Winner of the Jhalak Prize
Foyles Nonfiction Book of the Year
Blackwell's Nonfiction Book of the Year

Named One of the Best Books of 2017 by:
NPR
The Guardian
The Observer
The Brooklyn Rail
Cultured Vultures

Award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge was frustrated with the way that discussions of race and racism are so often led by those blind to it, by those willfully ignorant of its legacy. Her response, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, has transformed the conversation both in Britain and around the world. Examining everything from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, from whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge, and counter racism. Including a new afterword by the author, this is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of color in Britain today, and an essential handbook for anyone looking to understand how structural racism works.

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