Although we celebrate Black authors, and diverse authors in general, all year long, we’re taking this Black History Month to celebrate just a few Black authors we think should be on your radar.
Without further ado, here are 5 Black authors who should be on your radar.
Before Jeffers stunned the world with the masterpiece of a novel, The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois, Jeffers focused on poetry. Her history as a poet shines through in Love Songs, as the words create such vivid imagery that you feel like you are right there with the characters. Back to Love Songs…the novel depicts 400 years of one family’s mixed heritage, sacrifice, pain and love. You will no doubt see some of your family members in some of the novel’s characters. And don’t let the 700 plus page length scare you. It is so beautifully written that you will get to the end and wish there were more pages.
Augustown takes place in a fictional Jamaican village of the same name. For those wanting to know more about Jamaican culture and customs, this novel packs a mighty bang while simultaneously entertaining you. Sprinkled with patois language, a dollop of magical realism and superb storytelling and imagery, Augustown delivers a story you won’t want to put down. The characters are rich and the emotions are raw. Without giving too much of the story away, the plot starts off with a teacher cutting off a student’s dreadlocks for “misbehaving in class. It’s one wild ride from there. Miller’s other works include Things I Have Withheld and The Last Warner Woman.
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Lives is set in Nigeria, and as the title suggests, follows the lives of the four wives in a polygamous marriage with their husband, Baba Segi. Nigerian born herself, Shoneyin does a superb job of exploring various ways in which a Nigerian woman may choose to agree to a polygamous marriage, whether for security, safety, control (yes, control) or simply because options for female independence may be limited. The book alternates between the viewpoints of the four wives and gives a rich story of each of their characters.
Although The Girl With Stars In Her Eyes is the novel that Xio Axelrod is most known for, Axelrod penned a number of earlier works before The Girl. The Girl is a mashup of a romance and musical fiction novel. But, you won’t get a cliche romance story here. The love affair of the main characters, Toni and Sebastian is messy, resentful and rife with secrets. Axelrod writes the characters with such depth that anyone who has been in love will be able to relate to the characters’ twisty, turvy love story. As an added bonus, Axelrod calls upon her own experience in the music industry to give a genuine look into the music industry. The Girl With Rhythm In Her Heart, the highly-anticipated follow up to The Girl, is expected to be released in March 2022.
Widely known for her political prowess, Abrams is also a powerhouse in the literary world. If you are a fan of crime fiction (think John Grisham and David Balducci), you will enjoy Abrams’ latest novel, While Justice Sleeps. The story follows Avery Keene, a brilliant law clerk for a legendary Supreme Court justice. When the judge slips into a coma, Keene is forced to solve the mystery surrounding his life and illness, or risk dire consequences for the entire nation. Keene is a whip smart protagonist and her knack for speaking truth to power really endears her to the reader. Abrams, of course, is no stranger to writing novels, so if you enjoy her writing style, be sure to check out some of her earlier works, including many political novels as well as a children’s book.
There you have it! Yes, we realize there are so many more amazing Black authors that deserve spotlighting. But, these are just a few to get you started. We would love to hear from you if you have read any books by these authors. Or if you have other Black authors that you think should be on everyone’s radar, drop them in the comments below.
Want to explore more diverse authors? Here at The Chaptr, we place a heavy emphasis on books that are diverse in some respect; whether a diverse author, protagonist, viewpoint or simply a fresh take on a well-known topic. We would love to have you join us!
See you in between the pages.