LISTS

10 Classic Epic Poems from the Black Atlantic

The epics of the Black Atlantic have long existed and have now resurfaced. Though there is a want of a comparative, or even a collective, grouping of British, American, African, and Caribbean vernaculars and cultures in a literary body politic, here is a list that traces the history of the African diaspora, and literary styles through the (middle) passage of both people and ideas. So begins the project of chronologising and mapping the epos of the Black Atlantic across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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.

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, bringing together the stories of Black youths from all four corners and moving away from the dominance of Anglophone voices.

7 Historical Fiction Novels by Black Authors Out in 2021

Here are 7 lesser-known historical fiction novels that could do with a bit more buzz. Stories situated in Black history occupy a difficult position in the media landscape. On the one hand, the prevalence of slavery and other such trauma narratives evidences the market’s appetite for Black pain. On the other, history is always told from the perspective of the hunter.

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OPEN WATER: An ethereal meditation on Black love and art

In this slow and steady tale of Black love, we experience the world through the eyes of a young Londoner whose relationship buckles under the excruciating pressure occasioned by being a Black man in a white supremacist world that wants you dead. But don’t let generic phrases like black love fool you: this is also a novel about photography, mental health, pain, joy, music, vulnerability, and ultimately salvation.

A Past That Breathes: How a murder case against a Black man sparks interest in the unjust system

Breathing life into the genre, A Past That Breathes introduces crime fans to a gripping case involving accusations and a whirlwind of suspense. In the late 1990s, a young musician, Goldie is found murdered in her apartment in Los Angeles and her ex-boyfriend, Paul Jackson is arrested on suspicion of murder. Though it’s more factual than hugely suspenseful, the story is a nice starter read for new readers of legal and true crime.

"A Pride and Prejudice Remix" that packs a punch

It is always wonderful to see Black love poured into a timeless story of star-crossed love thriving against all odds. In spite of the weighty social issues that come with the territory, Pride is a deeply representative retelling that foregrounds Black people’s right to exist in a canon that has always pretended they do not. From the original’s classism to its silences on slavery, this novel gently gestures to Jane Austen’s prejudices in a fun, fresh way.