Celebrating Black Authors

By IYWP Intern Kelsey Borbeck

February is the month in which we celebrate Black History and elevate the prominent Black voices of our generation! It’s important to have conversations about the history of Black Americans and the inequalities and injustices that they still face today. While February is a special time to educate yourself and your peers, it’s crucial that these conversations continue beyond one month out of the year, as racism happens every day. One way that you can begin to educate yourself is through reading books written by Black authors! There are so many insightful and amazing books written by Black people that don’t reach the same platform or audience as their white counterparts. And for this month, we wanted to recommend our favorite books written by Black authors!

For a more in depth explanation as to why everyone should be reading books written by Black authors, Jasmine Guillory wrote this article about what supporting Black authors means to her and how it even improves her writing. 

Young Adult:

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson


Autobiography/Memoir:

Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

Ordinary Light: A Memoir by Tracy K. Smith

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxanne Gay

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay


Fiction:

Sula by Toni Morrison

Ayiti by Roxanne Gay

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones

A Visitation of Spirits by Randall Kenan

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin


Science Fiction:

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler


Nonfiction:

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander


Poetry:

And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson


Children’s Books:

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Lullaby (For a Black Mother) by Langston Hughes

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe


For more amazing literary recommendations, Oprah Winfrey compiles a list of her favorite books every year. You can click here to find her recommendations for her favorite Black authors of 2020!

I would like to thank all of the IYWP interns who contributed to this list of amazing books and authors!

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