18 Books by Black British Writers to Read Now

Layla Haidrani details 18 books by some of the most exciting new black voices in the world of british literature

textLayla Haidrani While the publication global hush has a long way to go, there ’ randomness been a unharmed host of new black voices and debut authors joining the ranks of more seasoned black writers like Courttia Newland, Musa Okwonga and Jeffrey Boakye in recent years. Though these new voices touch on race, above all they celebrate and showcase the diversity of the bootleg feel. From stories about sexual love and climate change to queer literary debuts and a satirical steer on how to survive in the workplace, here are 18 must-reads by black british authors to add to your reading list .

1. Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez (lead image)

This fagot literary debut is a intuitive and emotionally searing narrative touching on fatherhood, exemption, love and personnel casualty across generations. Norman, a Jamaican immigrant, settles in the Black Country in the late 1950s and battles racism, disability and personal conflict. At the turn of the millennium, 19-year-old Jesse arrives in London and turns to sex function to rebel against his religious breeding. A writer to watch, Mendez writes finely on longing, lust and the desire to forge connections.

Pin ItThe Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney Published by

Little Brown

2. The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu 

Nzelu is a rising literary star – and for good reason. This attendant and delicate debut featuring well-crafted characters charts protagonist Nnenna ’ s coming of age amid alienation, religion, forgiveness and familial relationships ( the bond between Nnenna and ma Joanie is a especial highlight ). Unsurprisingly, this page turner has garnered critical applaud – The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney is the winner of the 2020 Betty Trask Award and shortlisted for the esteemed the 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize. If you love Nzelu ’ randomness work, his chapter Troubles with God in the anthology SAFE : On Black British Men Reclaiming Space is a inspiration and evocative insight into homophobia and the church .
Pin ItLOTE Published by Jacaranda

3. LOTE by Shola von Reinhold 

Narrator Mathilda, who is bootleg, working class and gay, is transfixed by the bohemian socialites of the 1920s, who she ’ south emulated for a lot of her animation. Later, Mathilda encounters a photograph of black poet Hermia Druitt, drawing her to the european township of Dun where Druitt once lived in the 30s in a wish to learn more about the forget figure. Set amid an artist residency, this arresting debut effortlessly explores puppy love, reinvention, the expunction of bootleg figures from history and gender identities in what marks Von Reinhold as a alone new voice in literary fiction. LOTE is region of publisher Jacaranda ’ s campaign Twenty in 2020, the inaugural inaugural of its kind by a UK publisher to publish 20 black british writers in a single class .
Pin ItThe 392 Published by


4. The 392 by Ashley Hickson-Lovence

Set wholly on a London busbar travelling from Hoxton to Highbury, The 392 takes place over good 36 minutes and explores themes including terrorism and gentrification in inner-city London. The fib unfolds through a herd of passengers from all different worlds – schoolkids, addicts, high-flyers and the homeless – who are all tied through a shared misgiving as the menace of terrorism looms. A unique introduction, Hickson-Lovence pays tribute to London and all the colorful characters that call the city home .
Pin ItThink Like a White Man Published by Canongate

5. Think Like a White Man: Conquering the World… While Black by Nels Abbey

former banker Nels Abbey takes on the persona of Dr Boulé Whytelaw III, a distinguished Professor of Modern White People Studies, in this satirical guide on the realities of working in white-dominated workplaces. angstrom humorous as it dark, this memorable and timely “ self-help gospel ” touching on structural barriers may well be one of the most original debuts in years .
Pin ItNudibranch Published by

Little Brown

6. Nudibranch by Irenosen Okojie

This beguiling curtly fib collection from the critically acclaimed generator features an original roll of characters navigating phantasmagoric situations. These experimental tales time hop across perspectives and continents and sometimes beyond the boundaries of the homo world. Themes spanning reinvention and shifting identities are vividly evoked throughout Okojie ’ mho tales, from a girl in Martinique moonlight as a Grace Jones impersonator to a love-hungry goddess of the ocean arriving on an island inhabited by eunuch. Okojie ’ second prose is adenine imaginative as it is absorbing .
Pin ItIn The Palace of Flowers Published by

Cassava Republic

7. In the Palace of Flowers by Victoria Princewill

Inspired by the only existing first-person account of an abyssinian slave in Iran, this original historic debut sheds light on the untold lives of two slaves torn away from their families residing in the iranian royal courts in the 1890s. Told from the perspective of Jamila, a concubine, and Abimelech, a eunuch, Princewill deftly sheds light into an oft-overlooked area of african history. Expect rich and atmospheric depictions of palace life .
Pin ItThe Returnees Published by Hodder

& Stoughton

8. The Returnees by Elizabeth Okoh 

Spanning sleep together, identity and belong, The Returnees follows the adventures of three British-Nigerians who leave London for Lagos and marks Okoh as an exciting newfangled voice in contemporary fabrication. After a badly break up, 25-year-old Osayuki is drawn to the fashion industry in a area she hasn ’ metric ton set metrical foot in for many years. While waiting at Milan airport for her connect flight to Lagos, she meets Cynthia Okoye, who ’ s required to attend the National Youth Service Corps, and Kian Bajo, a aspirant Afrobeat star who will go to any lengths to conquer the Lagos music fit. After the plane lands at Lagos airport, they all go their offprint ways but this proves to be far from their last brush .
Pin ItLove in Colour Published by Headline

9. Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World by Bolu Babalola

Celebrating love around the universe in all its forms, this is a much needed and refreshing accession to the contemporaneous love story canon. Babalola retells 18 sleep together stories from history and mythology, from nigerian folktales, greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, tales from South Asia to the contemporary. The chapter Tiara is a especial standout.

Pin ItPoor Published by Penguin

10. Poor by Caleb Femi

The poet, director and erstwhile inaugural ever Young People ’ mho Laureate for London pays court to his South London roots and the house estate of the realm where he came of historic period in this capture and compel introduction. Combining poetry with original photos, Femi ’ south poems and prose history longing, hope, black boyhood and joy, with standout chapters including Supernova. Released in November, Poor marks Femi as one of the most excite writers nowadays .
Pin ItUnder Solomon Skies Published by Jacaranda

11. Under Solomon Skies by Berni Sorga-Millwood

Childhood friends Jack and Toni set out on a boat trip that goes askew and find themselves stranded at sea. Though initially optimistic that they ’ ll be rescued within hours, the first day draws to an end. Set in the Solomon Islands amid the environmental challenges it faces, Under Solomon Skies is an pressing look at the impression climate change on the island. Based on true events, Sorga-Millwood worked as a teacher trainer in the Solomon Islands .
Pin ItMask Off Published by

Pluto Press

12. Mask Off: Masculinity Defined by JJ Bola

The poet and writer explores masculinity from an intersectional angle, looking at how contemporary notions of manhood are impacted by slipstream, sex, class and varying political climates. Investigating how men of varying backgrounds, including LGBTQ+ men and male refugees, experience masculinity, Mask Off acts as a call up cry for us to urgently redefine maleness .
Pin ItThe Book of Echoes Published by Transworld

13. The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka 

Moving between 1980s Brixton and Nigeria, The Book of Echoes skillfully explores racial tensions, gentrification and intergenerational injury. Narrated by the spirit of an african female slave in 1803, she roams across the populace in search of her lost children when she makes her way to contemporary Brixton. Michael is trying to avoid trouble when carouse erupts and elsewhere in, Nigeria, a unseasoned servant girl called Ngozi struggles to escape her status. A novel 20 years in the construct, this is a poignant and brawny debut .
Pin ItThe Half-God of Rainfall Published by

Harper Collins

14. The Half-God of Rainfall by Inua Ellams

The award-winning poet and dramatist and performer behind the critically acclaimed The Barber Shop Chronicles is one of the most excite black writers today. Told in free verse, The Half-God of Rainfall fuses Greek mythology and Yoruba deities and explores the conflicts that arise between them adenine well as pride, might, misogyny and female revenge .
Pin ItThat Reminds Me by Derek Owusu Published by

#Merky Books

15. That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu

Following on as the editor of SAFE : On Black British Men Reclaiming Space anthology, Owusu was the first novelist to join # Merky Books, Stormzy ’ s publishing imprint. His moving introduction, which was nominated for the 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize, follows a son known only as K who is sent to be adopted by white foster parents and returns to Tottenham to estranged parents at seven. Unflinching and raw, it ultimately questions how much our childhood has the power to shape our pornographic selves. Look out for Derek ’ s second book, Teaching My brother to Read, out following year .
Pin ItHold Published by

Harper Collins

16. Hold by Michael Donkor 

Moving between Ghana and London, this captivating coming-of-age fresh on sex, identity, friendship, family and forgiveness was shortlisted for the 2019 Dylan Thomas trophy. Rule-abiding Belinda is summoned from Ghana to London to befriend Amma, a disturb girl who shows no matter to in her friendship. But as the Brixton summer turns to autumn, Belinda and Amma are surprised to discover a burgeoning affinity .
Pin ItIf I Don't Have You Published by Jacaranda

17. If I Don’t Have You by Sareeta Domingo

A celebration of black love and the vulnerabilities that come with it, If I Don ’ t Have You is besides function of publisher Jacaranda ’ s campaign Twenty in 2020. Look out for Domingo ’ s collection celebrating love released adjacent year, featuring a wide variety of black contributors including Dorothy Koomson and Irenosen Okojie. ( It ’ second besides well worth checking out Bad Love by Maame Blue – another Twenty in 2020 publication from Jacaranda – who at 30, reflects on her first base formative kinship as a adolescent. )

Pin ItThe Clapback Published by Hodder

& Stoughton

18. The Clapback: Your Guide to Calling out Racist Stereotypes by Elijah Lawal

Examining negative and harmful racist stereotypes, Lawal makes contentious issues accessible and compelling. Exploring sex, sport, dating, immigration and patrol ferociousness and probing deep into structural inequality, this handbook hooks you right from the start .

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