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Black Lit Matters – 80+ must-read novels by black writers

Joanne Owen

By Joanne Owen on 23rd June 2020

From thought-provoking literary fiction to coming-of-age life-changers that speak to all ages, our ever-growing collection of outstanding novels by black writers presents a richness of reading experiences. Sweeping historical stories that give voice to unforgettable characters. Stimulating contemporary tales that unpack modern life. Soul-stirring love stories. Novels that will make you think, question, and reassess your understanding of the world. Recipients of the world’s most esteemed literary awards. And all of the books we love.

Fans of historic fiction will adore Sara Collins’s literary crime thriller The Confessions of Frannie Langton, a compelling Costa Book Award-winning, LoveReading Debut of the Month, with a powerful statement about the nature of freedom underpinning Frannie’s feverishly unforgettable story. Another of our historic favourites - a Love Reading Star Book - is A Tall History of Sugar, a haunting masterpiece that begins in rural Jamaica with the island on the verge of independence, before moving to Brixton and Bristol, where – pertinently – the main character encounters the ludicrousness of former slave-owners being celebrated as hero philanthropists. Twentieth-century British history is further laid bare by the late, great Andrea Levy’s Small Island (all her novels and short stories are hugely recommended), and Samuel Selvon’s seminal 1956 classic The Lonely Londoners

If contemporary fiction is more your thing, we cannot praise Bernadine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other enough. The author made history with this multi-voiced, modern masterpiece by becoming the first black woman to win the prestigious Booker Prize (it was co-awarded to Evaristo and Margaret Atwood in 2019). We also especially love Rachel Edwards’s punchy Darling (another Star Book), and Michael Donker’s hilarious, heartfelt Hold - outstanding debuts by writers we can’t wait to read more by. 

From the other side of the Atlantic, more modern masterpieces come courtesy of Angie Thomas. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the author’s personal experiences, The Hate U Give is an exceptionally powerful novel about a girl’s struggle for justice when her friend-since-childhood is killed by the police, right in front of her. Though aimed at young adults, the novel’s power and prescient message make it a must-read for anyone interested in the BLM movement and the real-life experiences of young black Americans. The same goes for Thomas’s second novel, On the Come Up, in which talented hip-hop artist Bri battles racism, sexism and a tonne of painful conflicts, but refuses to be silenced.

Keep reading to explore the Collection, and keep checking back to discover more exceptional novels - it’s growing constantly.

The Magic Lamp: Dreams of Our Age

The Magic Lamp: Dreams of Our Age

Author: Ben Okri Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/09/2017

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

ebook of the month
NW

NW

Author: Zadie Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/06/2013

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

ebook of the month
Swing Time

Swing Time

Author: Zadie Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/07/2017

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

ebook of the month
Boy, Snow, Bird

Boy, Snow, Bird

Author: Helen Oyeyemi Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/09/2015

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

ebook of the month
God Help the Child

God Help the Child

Author: Toni Morrison Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/04/2016

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

ebook of the month
Mom and Me and Mom

Mom and Me and Mom

Author: Maya Angelou Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/03/2014

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

ebook of the month
The Fishermen

The Fishermen

Author: Chigozie Obioma, Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/02/2015

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

ebook of the month

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