Hi readers! 2021 has already been a great year for black authors with brilliant releases like we are all birds of uganda, His Only Wife and the anthology Who's Loving You- all vastly different, but equally deserving of praise. Fortunately, the rest of the year is looking to be just as impressive. So make room on your book shelves; here are 10 more titles that you absolutely need to add on your TBR list!
By Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah (22 July 2021)
The Sex Lives of African Women uniquely amplifies individual women from across the African continent and its global diaspora, as they speak of their diverse experiences of sex, sexualities and relationships. Many of the women who tell their stories in this collection recall the journeys they have travelled in order to own their own sexualities. They do this by grappling with experiences of child sexual abuse, resisting the religious edicts of their childhood, and by asserting their sexual power. From finding queer community in Egypt to living a polyamorous life in Senegal to understanding the intersectionality of religion and pleasure in Cameroon to choosing to leave relationships that no longer serve them, these narratives are as individual and illuminating as the women who share them. The Sex Lives of African Women provides a deep insight into women's quest for freedom, highlights the complex tapestry of African women's sexuality, and bestows upon all women inspirational examples to live a truly liberated life.
By Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (1 June 2021)
Ace of Spades is a compelling, incendiary and unputdownable thriller billed as Get Out meets Gossip Girl with a shocking twist. It is set in an elite private school; when someone begins spreading rumours about the only two Black students there, they are forced to fight, not just for their reputations, but for their lives too. Delving into the heart of institutionalized racism, Ace of Spades offers a blistering social commentary on the barriers that Black students face when they aspire to things that come easily to their white classmates. Faridah wanted to “explore the way powerful systems are created as well as how these systems can be destroyed”. Faridah describes the novel as “a love letter to queer Black teenagers who feel powerless and alone finally finding their voices.” She continues: “I hope readers see that Black people belong in stories like Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, and that above everything else, we deserve happy endings.”
By Emery Lee (4 May 2021)
Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships. Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe. When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page. In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.
By Oyinkan Braithwaite (May 2021)
When his girlfriend throws him out during the pandemic, Bambi has to go to his Uncle's house in lock-down Lagos. He arrives during a blackout, and is surprised to find his Aunty Bidemi sitting in a candlelit room with another woman. They both claim to be the mother of the baby boy, fast asleep in his crib.
At night Bambi is kept awake by the baby's cries, and during the days he is disturbed by a cockerel that stalks the garden. There is sand in the rice. A blood stain appears on the wall. Someone scores tribal markings into the baby's cheeks. Who is lying and who is telling the truth?
By Akwaeke Emezi (29 June 2021)
In letters addressed to their friends, to members of their family - both biological and chosen - and to fellow storytellers, Akwaeke describes the shape of a life lived in overlapping realities. Through heartbreak, chronic pain, intimacy with death, becoming a beast, this is embodiment as a nonhuman: outside the boundaries imposed by expectations and legibility. This book is an account of the grueling work of realignment and remaking necessary to carve out a future for oneself. The result is a black spirit memoir: a powerful, raw unfolding of identity.
By Nicola Yoon (1 June 2021)
Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything--including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met. Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?
By Suyi Davies Okungbowa (11 May 2021)
Award-winning author Suyi Davies Okungbowa begins a thrilling new epic fantasy series of violent conquest, buried histories and forbidden magic.
In the city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness-only he doesn't want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city's immigrants are sworn to secrecy. But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn't exist, he's put on a collision course with Bassa's darkest secrets. Drawn into the city's hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. But the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.
By JJ Bola (28 September 2021)
Michael decides to flee to America and end his life once all his savings run out. JJ Bola's second novel is a story of millennial existential angst told through the eyes of a young Londoner who seems to have it all - a promising future, a solid career, strong friendships, a blossoming love story - but it's the unbearable weight of life that leads him to decide to take his own. As he grapples with issues bigger than him - political conflict, environmental desecration, police brutality - Michael seeks to find his place within a world that is complicated and unwelcoming. Although he finds solace in the people that surround him, he alone must decide if his life is worth living.
By Pumla Dineo Gqola (19 October 2021)
"Patriarchy does not respect national boundaries. It is unabashedly promiscuous in its influences and tethers. Yet, it does use nationalism very productively."
An empty street at night. A crowded bus. A lecture hall. All sites of female fear, instilled in women and those who have been constructed female, from an early age. Drawing on examples from around the world - from Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa to Saudi Arabia, the Americas and Europe, Gqola traces the construction and machinations of the female fear factory by exposing its lies, myths, and seductions. She shows how seemingly disparate effects, like driving bans, street harassment, and coercive professors, are the product of the ever-turning machinery of the female fear factory, and its use of fear as a tool of patriarchal subjugation and punishment. Female Fear Factory: Gender and Patriarchy under Racial Capitalism is a sobering account of patriarchal violence in the world, and a hopeful vision for the work of unapologetic feminist imaginative strategies across the globe.
By T.L. Huchu (27 April 2021)
When ghosts talk, she will listen ...
Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world. She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan ...) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted? Opening up a world of magic and adventure, The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series.