I do not claim to be the authority on black authors. Far from it, in fact. I know that my exposure to black authors is not as wide as it should be. And as much as I’d love to blame the gatekeepers of publishing for that (it is, in part, their fault) I also have to blame myself. Books by black authors are out there; I have to do a better job of being intentional in selecting more books by diverse voices.
However, I do want to linger for a moment on my comment about the gatekeepers of publishing. For the past several years this has been an ongoing conversation amongst bookish people. The people over at Book Riot talk about it often, bloggers mention it often. It’s not a secret that publishing is almost exclusively white. In a 2019 study published to The Open Book Blog 76% of the publishing industry as a whole was white. To be fair, this includes publishing staff, review journal staff, and literary agents. But it’s still more than an overwhelming majority. That means (and I know you are capable of understanding this without my help, but humor me) that less than a quarter of the publishing industry is comprised of people of color.
So as part of my pledge to be more intentional in picking books by diverse authors, and in celebration of Black History Month, I’m dropping a list of my favorite books by black authors. This list is in no way comprehensive, definitive, or even all that Earth-shattering. But it is a list of books that I love by authors who are incredible. If you’re struggling to find new voices, maybe this list can provide a jumping off point for you.
And maybe you can leave me some suggestions in the comments to help me grow my list, as well. This year I’m expanding my horizons as much as possible and I am open to any suggestions I get.
But here, in no particular order, are books by black authors that I highly recommend.Read more