October marks Black History Month, so we’ve put together a list celebrating the range and diversity of black literature for you to enjoy.
These nine books showcase many and differing experiences and emotions. Ranging from contemporary romance to memoirs, there should be something that appeals to everyone. We hope you discover some brilliant authors and new favourite books to add to your collection!
1. Black Joy, edited by Charlie Brinkhurt-Cuff and Timi Sotire
This anthology of 28 voices, celebrates, uplifts and empowers the Black British experience. Through this volume of work, the writers highlight that Black Joy can be found in so many places, such as in love, literature, friendship, music, carnival, travel, dance, work, nature, and food.
2. Keep the Receipts: Three Women, Real Talk, No Filter by Tolani Shoneye, Milena Sanchez and Audrey Indome
If you listen to The Receipts Podcast you’ll be familiar with the girls. This book brings us even closer to them through the sharing of anecdotes and personal stories and answering dilemmas that are yet to be heard on the podcast. Instead of thinking of this as a self-help book, think of it as that friendly conversation you have with the girls you met in a bathroom on a night out!
3. This One Sky Day, by Leone Ross
Set on a fictional archipelago of islands, loosely based on Jamaica, this novel depicts a sensual meditation on the nature of love and addiction. Follow the story of Xavier and Anise, once in love, as they walk towards each other across the archipelago, meeting various, important characters. This book is both silly and serious; satirising postcolonial society and celebrating oddness.
4. You Are A Champion: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice and Be The BEST You Can Be by Marcus Rashford
Marcus has been a symbol of hope, kindness and selflessness during the pandemic. In this book he offers a practical guide for children, giving them the tools to realise that they can reach their full potential and will show them that their possibilities really can be endless.
5. Black London: History, Art & Culture in over 120 places, by Avril Nanton and Jody Burton
London is a city full of cultural diversity, which can be seen in the capital’s food, places, art and so much more. However, for too long the focus has been on mainstream history, forgetting those of Black backgrounds that have contributed to making the City what it is. Avril and Jody have compiled a comprehensive guide over 120 sites and details the Black history of London and beyond.
6. Misfits: A Personal Manifesto, by Michaela Coel
Many of us are familiar with Michaela as an actor and screenwriter from shows such as Chewing Gum, Black Earth Rising and I May Destroy You. In her personal manifesto, she discusses race, class and gender. She tells of her reckoning with trauma and metamorphosis into a champion for herself, inclusivity and radical honesty, and in telling her journey invites us to reflect on our own. This book is a call for honesty, empathy and inclusion and is dedicated to those who have ever worried about fitting in.
7. While We Were Dating, by Jasmine Guillory
Contemporary romance, your thing? Well, you’ll love this novel by Jasmine, which follows the romance tropes we all love! When Ben and movie star Anna work together on a huge ad campaign, they struggle to keep things purely professional. Ben helps Anna with a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other. However, will Ben be content to play the background role in Anna’s life and leave when the cameras stop rolling? Or could he be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending?
8. Libertie, by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Taking place after the Civil War, Libertie Sampson is a free-born Black girl in Brooklyn. She is aware that her mother, a practising physician, has a plan that her daughter will go to medical school and practice alongside her. However, Libertie is drawn to music and feels stifled by her mother’s choices and in search of something else. When a man from Haiti proposes to her, promising her an equal life on the Island she accepts, only to find that she is still subordinate to him and all other men. Libertie contemplates what freedom actually means for Black women and where she might find it.
9. Seven Days in June, by Tia Williams
Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget, and seven days to get it all back again. This is a modern love story detailing this whirlwind romance between Eva and Shane that lasts a week, their chance meeting 15 years later at a literary event and the undeniable chemistry between them. As they reconnect, Eva is wary of the man that previously broke her heart and needs a few questions answered before she says goodbye to him for good.