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25 Books by Contemporary Black Authors

Read some of the best fiction and nonfiction by contemporary black authors, including books in every genre from literary fiction to personal memoir. See why these writers are beloved and celebrated!

To highlight moments and voices during Black History Month, we’ve teamed up with StoryCorps. Find out more here.
  1. 1

    Well-Read Black Girl

    An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.

    Well-Read Black Girl Book Cover Picture
  2. 2

    We Cast a Shadow

    This electrifying, hallucinatory novel is at once a keen satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love.

    We Cast a Shadow Book Cover Picture
  3. 3


    Homegoing Book Cover Picture
  4. 4

    I Almost Forgot About You

    Bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting To Exhale is back with the inspiring story of a woman who shakes things up in her life to find greater meaning.

    I Almost Forgot About You Book Cover Picture
  5. 5

    We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

    With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life., “bitches gotta eat” blogger and comedian Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form.

    We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. Book Cover Picture
  6. 6

    Behold the Dreamers

    A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.

    Behold the Dreamers (Oprah's Book Club) Book Cover Picture
  7. 7

    What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

    Helen Oyeyemi’s tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.

    What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Book Cover Picture
  8. 8

    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Book Cover Picture
  9. 9

    Loving Day

    A frequently hilarious, surprisingly moving story about blacks and whites, fathers and daughters, the living and the dead, Loving Day celebrates the wonders of opposites bound in love.

    Loving Day Book Cover Picture
  10. 10

    Queen Sugar

    Readers, booksellers, and critics alike are embracing Queen Sugar and cheering for its heroine, Charley Bordelon, an African American woman and single mother struggling to build a new life amid the complexities of the contemporary South.

    Queen Sugar Book Cover Picture
  11. 11

    Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay

    Bestselling author and star of 2 Dope Queens Phoebe Robinson is back with a new, hilarious, and timely essay collection on gender, race, dating, and the dumpster fire that is our world.

    Everything's Trash, But It's Okay Book Cover Picture
  12. 12

    Black Leopard, Red Wolf

    In the stunning first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture
  13. 13

    Swing Time

    An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty.

    Swing Time Book Cover Picture
  14. 14

    The Underground Railroad

    The Underground Railroad Book Cover Picture
  15. 15

    Born a Crime

    The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of Trevor Noah’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

    Born a Crime Book Cover Picture
  16. 16

    Black Is the Body

    Black is the Body is an extraordinary, exquisitely written memoir that looks at race–in a fearless, penetrating, honest, true way–in twelve telltale, connected, deeply personal essays.

    Black Is the Body Book Cover Picture
  17. 17

    Known and Strange Things

    Persuasive and provocative, erudite yet accessible, Known and Strange Thingsis an opportunity to live within Teju Cole’s wide-ranging enthusiasms, curiosities, and passions, and a chance to see the world in surprising and affecting new frames.

    Known and Strange Things Book Cover Picture
  18. 18

    We Were Eight Years in Power

    In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of our history and the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the most recent presidential election.

    We Were Eight Years in Power Book Cover Picture
  19. 19

    Ordinary Light

    In Ordinary Light, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Tracy K. Smith tells her remarkable story, giving us a quietly potent memoir that explores her coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter.

    Ordinary Light Book Cover Picture
  20. 20

    What We Lose

    From an author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age—a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country.

    What We Lose Book Cover Picture
  21. 21


    The bestselling novel from the award-winning author of We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele.

    Americanah Book Cover Picture
  22. 22

    Five-Carat Soul

    Five-Carat Soul Book Cover Picture
  23. 23

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads

    In 1994, Clemantine Wamariya and her sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries. Later, she seemed to live the American dream yet the years of being treated as less than human could not be erased. In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine recognizes the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks.

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads Book Cover Picture
  24. 24

    Finding Gideon

    A professional job turns personal for jet-setting contract killer Gideon in this sexy, thrilling page-turner by bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey.

    Finding Gideon Book Cover Picture
  25. 25

    Ghana Must Go

    Electric, exhilarating, and beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a sweeping narrative that takes readers from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, it is at once a portrait of a modern family and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are.

    Ghana Must Go Book Cover Picture

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