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Works of Horror by African American Writers

Jordan Peele’s horror movies Get Out and Us have gotten great reviews from critics and fans alike. Not only is Peele creating films within an industry and genre where comparatively few horror films have been helmed by people of color, but he’s created films that are both thoughtful cultural commentaries and box office hits. Unfortunately, African American voices aren’t well represented in horror literature, either, and there are many great writers of color all horror fans need to read. Here’s a list of horror stories by African American writers to check out.

  1. 1
    Fledgling Book Cover Picture
    Fledgling Book Cover Picture

    Fledgling

    by Octavia E. Butler

    The late Octavia Butler’s book Fledgling is the story of Shori Matthews: a being who appears to be a 10 year-old black girl, but is in fact a 53 year-old vampire. Shori awakens in a cave with little idea of who, or where, she is. Shori’s awakening attracts the attention of mysterious assassins, forcing her to try to unravel the mystery of her identity while on the run.
    Fledgling Book Cover Picture
    Fledgling Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $26.95

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  2. 2
    Beloved Book Cover Picture
    Beloved Book Cover Picture

    Beloved

    by Toni Morrison

    Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her. When a mysterious teenage girl arrives, calling herself Beloved, Sethe’s terrible secret explodes into the present.
    Beloved Book Cover Picture
    Beloved Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.00

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  3. 3
    Just Wanna Testify Book Cover Picture
    Just Wanna Testify Book Cover Picture

    Just Wanna Testify

    by Pearl Cleage

    Atlanta’s West End district has always been a haven and home to a coterie of unique characters—artists and thinkers, dreamers and doers. Anyone planning to sell drugs, vandalize, or rob a little old lady should think twice before hitting this part of town. And Blue Hamilton, West End’s unofficial mayor and longtime protector, will see to it that you do. Blue wears many hats here, including adored husband to Regina, dear nephew to Abbey, and doting father to Sweetie and another little one on the way.
    Just Wanna Testify Book Cover Picture
    Just Wanna Testify Book Cover Picture

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  4. 4
    The Devil in Silver Book Cover Picture
    The Devil in Silver Book Cover Picture

    The Devil in Silver

    by Victor LaValle

    The Devil in Silver brilliantly brings together the compelling themes that spark all of Victor LaValle’s radiant fiction: faith, race, class, madness, and our relationship with the unseen and the uncanny. More than that, it’s a thrillingly suspenseful work of literary horror about friendship, love, and the courage to slay our own demons.
    The Devil in Silver Book Cover Picture
    The Devil in Silver Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

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  5. 5
    White is for Witching Book Cover Picture
    White is for Witching Book Cover Picture

    White is for Witching

    by Helen Oyeyemi

    White is for Witching Book Cover Picture
    White is for Witching Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

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  6. 6
    We Cast a Shadow Book Cover Picture
    We Cast a Shadow Book Cover Picture

    We Cast a Shadow

    by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

    In this near-future Southern city plagued by fenced-in ghettos and police violence, more and more residents are turning to this experimental medical procedure. The narrator just wants the best for his son, Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. The darker Nigel becomes, the more frightened his father feels. 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
    We Cast a Shadow Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

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  7. 7
    Who Fears Death Book Cover Picture
    Who Fears Death Book Cover Picture

    Who Fears Death

    by Nnedi Okorafor

    In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. It doesn’t take long for the girl to understand that she is physically and socially marked by the circumstances of her conception. She is Ewu—a child of rape who is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by her community. But even as a child, she manifests the beginnings of a remarkable and unique magic. As she grows, so do her abilities, but she learns something terrifying: someone powerful is trying to kill her.
    Who Fears Death Book Cover Picture
    Who Fears Death Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

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