What We Do

bigblackbooks is an Afro-literary platform here to pay Black readers, writers, authors, and publishers their literary dues.

FEATURED

10 Classic Verse Novels

From Homer to Chaucer, verse narratives have been around for a long time. But with their musty canonical status and failure to represent any demographic that is not the straight white male, these classic works are best known for putting thousands and thousands of students off poetry. Enter the contemporary verse novel, a readable and accessible narrative form claimed by Black writers to tell representative stories about history, queerness, race, romance, coming of age, identity, and so much more.

Accra Noir: Crime in a city of stories, legends, and allegories

Accra Noir, an Akashic Books anthology reissued by Cassava Republic, comprises the work of some of Ghana’s most talented writers. Edited by Nana-Ama Danquah, Accra Noir’s writers spin a complex and fantastical web of love, intrigue, drama, and crime. Much like Accra itself, these stories are not always what they seem.

Dead Dead Girls: A dark serial killer thriller set in 1920s Harlem

Dead Dead Girls is a gripping mystery set in 1920s Harlem that looks into the murder of young Black women. And the investigator of these murders? A young heroine known as the “Harlem Hero” who just wants to dance her nights away and sip on gin.

Nadifa Mohamed’s The Fortune Men centres humanity in the midst of tragedy and injustice

The Fortune Men is a historical fiction set in 1950s Cardiff that explores the real and distressing story of Mahmood Mattan, the last innocent man to be hanged in Wales. After being accused of murder, Mahmood faces a legal system determined to find him guilty.

15 Coming-of-Age Novels in English Translation

Black people are everywhere and there is no universal Black experience. From Brazil and Haiti to Rwanda and Madagascar, travel the world via this list of coming-of-age novels in English translation. This list spotlights 15 lesser-known coming-of-age novels in English translation.

INTERVIEWS

"I am not a planner": A conversation with Chibundu Onuzo

On a sweltering and slow Monday morning in mid-June, I had the privilege of chatting to the fresh-faced Chibundu Onuzo over Zoom a few days after the publication of her third novel, Sankofa.

"Black queerness gives us space to imagine": A conversation with Hari Ziyad

Bestselling author of the debut memoir titled Black Boy Out of Time talks at length about the limitations of writing, community care, the role of theory, and the global publishing industrial complex.

A conversation with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

We had the pleasure and privilege of speaking to a veteran of historical fiction, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, whose pioneering novels have put Afro-Latinx history on the literary map. The 2009 hardcover edition of Daughters of the Stone was listed as a 2010 Finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize.

ESSAYS

The publishing industry cannot continue to hide its anti-Blackness behind #BlackBestSeller

Instead of wondering when and what Colson Whitehead’s latest will be, readers should be asking how these Black-authored titles would be different if they were also Black-edited, Black-designed, and Black-publicised.

All I want for Christmas is the death of lazy, "diversity" language

As the vengeful child of that late twentieth century’s identifier “political blackness” and the climate of strategic essentialism its legacy left behind, the publishing industry’s current approach to diversity is—by its very naturerooted in generality and therefore cultural ignorance.

The Story of Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other

After 40 years of writing, Bernardine Evaristo’s 8th novelGirl, Woman, Otherproved to be her golden ticket to renown and success. A writer’s writer has become a mainstream writer. But Evaristo’s career trajectory also evidences how white preferences still steer the publishing industry. 

REVIEWS

The Booker-nominated Black Moses is a damning portrait of 80s Congo-Brazzaville

Long-listed for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, Alain Mabanckou’s Black Moses zeroes in on corruption in late 1970s Congo-Brazzaville. In this cynical coming-of-age story, Mabanckou changes the narrative by troubling what is expected of the bildungsroman.

Deadly Sacrifice brings us the first Black female police detective in UK fiction

A unique thriller that dives deep into the world of human trafficking and African ritual sacrifices, Deadly Sacrifice is based on the true 2001 news story in which a Black boy’s torso was found in the Thames.

Katy Massey debuts with a memoir about growing up mixed-race in Thatcher-era Leeds

Part of Jacaranda’s historic initiative to publish 20 Black British voices in 2020, Are We Home Yet? is an instant classic that stretches the idea of Black Britishness beyond the London-centric.