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By Caroline Kelsick
Since there are so many books and authors to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down your choices when looking for a good read. All authors come from different creative places and combine numerous narrative elements that attract readers of all kinds. In honor of Black History Month, here are four black authors to check out. Each are writers of different genres.
Romance - Talia Hibbert
Talia Hibbert is a British romance novelist. Her romances prioritize Black representation and often depict interracial relationships. In an interview with Sarah Thomas for BookPage, Hibbert stated that, for her, representation in her novels is not just about accepting differences but celebrating them. When Thomas asked Hibbert how she views romance, Hibbert stated it is a genre of “respecting the power of emotion.” Her series entitled The Brown Sisters has recently become a beloved collection amongst readers. The Brown Sisters series has three installments with each book following a sister individually: their life, their aspirations, and their romantic relationship. “Get a Life, Chloe Brown” was released in 2019 and is Hibbert’s most reviewed novel on community reading app GoodReads. “Take a Hint, Dani Brown” was released in 2020 and “Act Your Age, Eve Brown” is set to be released in March 2021.
Check out Hibbert’s Website: taliahibbert.com
Horror - Tananarive Due
Tananarive Due is an American author, journalist, and film professor. Much of her written work is classified as speculative fiction, meaning the elements of her stories often take place outside of reality, involving supernatural and magical aspects. Her most extensive written work is the African Immoralist series which has paranormal, familial, and historical themes. Apart from her written work, Due is also a film professor and producer. She teaches a course at UCLA that focuses on the film “Get Out” by director Jordan Peele. For haunted house horror, check out Due’s novel “The Good House,” which follows a mother returning to a family home with dark spirits. More interested in paranormal horror? Start with the first novel in her African Immoralist series, “My Soul to Keep.”
Check out Due’s Website: tananarivedue.com
Young Adult/Contemporary - Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds is an American poet and author of contemporary and young adult fiction. The origins of his writing career were inspired by rap and hip-hop music. He saw poetry in the music of artists like Tupac and Queen Latifah and was heartened by stories of Black American experiences. As a college student, he was involved in writing, poetry, and performing slam poetry. Now, many of his books follow teenage and young adult characters navigating their world, identity, and challenges. His books “Ghost,” “Patina,” “Sunny,” and “Lu” are of a four part series following four teenagers on a track team and how their athletic endeavors connect to their personal lives. His book “Long Way Down” is written in verse and takes place over the course of just 60 seconds.
Check out Reynold’s Website: jasonwritesbooks.com
Science Fiction/Fantasy - N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin is an American science fiction and fantasy author. In a video for the MacArthur Foundation, Jemisin states that she writes stories that she wished she had been able to read when she was younger. Jemisin’s books are set in intricate, fantastic worlds that, like Tananarive Due, contain elements of speculative fiction. She deals with themes like power and persecution while blending outside genres like mystery and action/adventure. One of her most popular books “The Fifth Season” follows a woman living in an apocalyptic-like world, desperate to save her torn-apart family with limited resources. Her most recent novel, “The City We Became,” follows five residents of New York City who work together to save the city from an evil, supernatural force.
Check out Jemisin’s Website: nkjemisin.com