African American literature has a rich and varied history, and contemporary authors are continuing to add to this legacy with their powerful and thought-provoking works. From fiction to non-fiction, these authors are tackling a range of important and timely topics, and their books are a must-read for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of the black experience in America. Whether you're a fan of historical fiction, science fiction, or memoir, there is a book on this list for you. Here are five books by African American authors that you won't want to miss:
From the award-winning author of Yellow Wife, a daring, beautiful, and redemptive novel that explores what it means to be a woman and a mother, and how much one is willing to sacrifice to achieve her greatest goal.
1950s Philadelphia: fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising a daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright
Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his parents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.
With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.
Generations of Montrose women—Augusta, Victoria, Willow—have lived together in their quaint two-story bungalow in California for years. They keep to themselves, never venture far from home, and their collection of tinctures and spells is an unspoken bond between them.
But when seventeen-year-old Nickie Montrose brings home a boy for the first time, their quiet lives are thrown into disarray. For the other women have been withholding a secret from Nickie that will end her relationship before it’s even begun: the decades-old family curse that any person they fall in love with dies.
For each member of the household, revealing this truth to Nickie also means reckoning with their own past choices and mistakes. And as new questions about long-held family beliefs emerge, the women are set on a collision course dating back to a voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans’s French Quarter—where a hidden story in a mysterious book may just hold the answers they seek in life and in love…
What is motherhood in the midst of uncertainty, buried trauma, and an unraveling America? What it’s always been—a love song.
Our narrator is a gifted photographer, an uncertain wife, an infertile mother, a biracial woman in an unraveling America. As she grapples with a lifetime of ambivalence about motherhood, yet another act of police brutality makes headlines, and this time the victim is Noah, a boy in her photography class. Unmoored by the grief of a recent devastating miscarriage and Noah’s fight for his life, she worries she can no longer chase the hope of having a child, no longer wants to bring a Black body into the world. Yet her husband Asher—contributing white, Jewish genes alongside her Black-Japanese ones for any potential child—is just as desperate to keep trying. Throwing herself into a new documentary on motherhood, and making secret visits to Noah in the hospital, this when she learns she is, impossibly, pregnant. As the future shifts once again, she must decide yet again what she dares hope for the shape of her future to be. Fearless, timely, blazing with voice, Blue Hour is a fragmentary novel with unignorable storytelling power.
A Black father makes amends with his gay son through letters written on his deathbed in this wise and penetrating novel of empathy and forgiveness, for fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robert Jones Jr. and Alice Walker.
As Jacob lies dying, he begins to write a letter to his only son, Isaac. They have not met or spoken in many years, and there are things that Isaac must know. Stories about his ancestral legacy in rural Arkansas that extend back to slavery. Secrets from Jacob’s tumultuous relationship with Isaac’s mother and the shame he carries from the dissolution of their family. Tragedies that informed Jacob’s role as a father and his reaction to Isaac’s being gay.
But most of all, Jacob must share with Isaac the unspoken truths that reside in his heart. He must give voice to the trauma that Isaac has inherited. And he must create a space for the two to find peace.
With piercing insight and profound empathy, acclaimed author Daniel Black illuminates the lived experiences of Black fathers and queer sons, offering an authentic and ultimately hopeful portrait of reckoning and reconciliation. Spare as it is sweeping, poetic as it is compulsively readable, Don’t Cry for Me is a monumental novel about one family grappling with love’s hard edges and the unexpected places where hope and healing take flight.
At the intersection of power, technology, and race, Stacy Spikes, award-winning entrepreneur and founder of MoviePass, reveals the tools he’s used to persevere in the face of adversity, defy stereotypes, and shatter glass ceilings. Black Founder is both an empowering memoir of a trailblazing business leader and an unflinching look at what it means to be Black and ambitious in the upper echelons of record labels, movie studios and tech startups – with practical steps on how to overcome prejudice and build your own success.
From the award-winning entrepreneur USA Today named one of the 21 most influential Blacks in technology comes an empowering, bracingly honest, entertaining blueprint for success in life and work—including the true story of what really happened to MoviePass, the nation’s groundbreaking first-ever theatrical subscription service—straight from the co-founder and former CEO himself…
Stacy Spikes knows what’s it like to be an outsider. He certainly knew he didn’t fit the mold of a successful future tech entrepreneur. But he marshaled his resilience and ultimately set out to shatter that mold—along with the glass ceiling that came with it. Finding his footing in the tech world was an education in the complexities of being an outsider—but as Stacy came to see, rather than a hindrance, it afforded him a unique position of power.
Beginning as a film studio gopher, Spikes quickly rose through the industry ranks, being named one of the Hollywood Reporter’s 30 Under 30. Still, he was an outsider looking in. So he set out to make his own dreams a reality. Defying expectations, Spikes effectively disrupted the status quo and reinvented himself from junior executive to CEO Tech Founder. What ensued was an escalating adventure with bigger stages, bigger risks, and a roller-coaster ride of exhilarating ascent—unpredictable collapse—and a story book return.
Now Spikes shares his challenges, pitfalls, and keys to personal and professional fulfillment. He shows how the seemingly impossible can be overcome by having faith in oneself and creating from a place of confidence. Taking readers inside the battles of the boardroom and beyond, Black Founder is a business memoir that will inspire every outsider who has a dream.