Whether you’re into poems, stories, novels, or biographies, check out this list of noteworthy books by contemporary Black authors.
Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley. Fans of classic detective stories will enjoy this mystery that reintroduces Mosley’s beloved sleuth, Easy Rawlins. Great storytelling and memorable characters combine in this story about Rawlins’ efforts to exonerate an upstanding young man from murder charges—no easy thing to do since the suspect was found standing over the body.
Collected Poems: 1974–2004 by Rita Dove. A former Poet Laureate of the United States, Rita Dove has condensed thirty years’ (and seven books’) worth of her best poems into a single volume. Writing with precision and emotion, Dove explores topics ranging from adolescence, to love, to death—all with memorable language. The book is a wonderful introduction to her work.
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn. In her debut novel, Dennis-Benn offers readers stunning insight into the realities of tourism in Jamaica, contrasting the lives of wealthy visitors with those of the island’s poor. Named a “best book of the year” by too many media outlets to list, Here Comes the Sun is the story of the sacrifices we make for those we love.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. At the height of the Jim Crow Era, a group of brilliant Black women worked behind the scenes to perform the complex calculations that fueled the space race and led to victory during the Cold War.
The Loss of All Lost Things by Amina Gautier. In a collection of smart, award-wining short stories, author Amina Gautier explores the concept of loss—of life, of material goods, etc.—but her message is one of hope and redemption. According to author Phong Nguyen, “Gautier’s stories have you by the throat, and they surprise you with their mercy.”
The Mothers by Brit Bennett. Called one of the biggest debut books of fall 2016, The Mothers by Brit Bennett offers a deceptively simple story: A teen couple inadvertently conceive a child, then spend the rest of their lives working through the repercussions of their decisions. But the book is about more than the consequences of youthful misadventure: Complex characters ask deep questions about the nature of adulthood and choice.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Winner of the National Book Award, this book by Colson Whitehead is a journey into the story of slavery, past and present. In the book, the real-life network of abolitionist strongholds that ferried enslaved people to freedom becomes an actual network of underground tunnels, each leading to a unique story about the many faces of slavery.
Hey, reader! Add to our list. Post the titles of books by Black authors you love in our comments section!