Reviews

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.

While Justice Sleeps: A stunning legal thriller with a medical conspiracy that will keep you on the edge of your seat

I can still feel the adrenalin pumping through my body from reading the last chapters of Stacey Abrams’s first thriller, While Justice Sleeps. This conspiracy story with a legal and medical edge is complex yet riveting.

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

Accra Noir is a thrilling addition to the Akashic Noir series, featuring 13 short stories by existing as well as fresh voices in the Ghanaian literary scene. With crime, cunning, and passion at the heart of it, it is being reissued by Cassava Republic.

Prolific romance author Alyssa Cole delivers a chilling thriller about gentrification

When No One is Watching is said to conversate with the likes of Get Out. A psychological thriller about gentrification, the comparison is at its strongest once readers understand they’re being asphyxiated in the protagonist’s psyche as forcefully as Black residents are being plucked out of Gifford Place.

Addis Ababa Noir: A dark, gritty collection of short stories set in the shadow of the city

Boasting fourteen dark, gripping tales, Addis Ababa Noir, an Akashic Books anthology reissued by Cassava Republic Press, comprises the work of some of Ethiopia’s most talented writers. These stories draw you to the side of a city that is filled with greed, power, death, and despair.

Parsing Freedom: A Review of Kaitlyn Greenidge’s Libertie

Coming of age as a free-born dark-skinned girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson lives in the shadow of her exceptional and exceptionally light-skinned physician mother. But Libertie, who finds freedom in music and motherhood, years for a regular life away from the burden of representation.

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 a serious crime, accusations and a whirlwind of suspense.

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 a true 2001 news story. 

Chibundu Onuzo's third novel, Sankofa, comes at the right time

Following The Spider King’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos, Sankofa tells the story of a mixed-race British woman’s search for her long-lost West African father.

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. 

Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou

Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, Alain Mabanckou’s Black Moses zeroes in on corruption in late 1970s Congo-Brazzaville.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

Written in non-standard English, this delightful debut meditates on intersectional womanism and #ownvoices as it passes a Nigerian village girl the mic.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

In The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi highlights the fallibility of social perception and the limits of what we think we know.

The Emperor's Babe by Bernardine Evaristo

The Emperor’s Babe is an irreverent and salacious romp that merges together tradition and contemporaneity in a startlingly unique way.

Bad Love by Maame Blue

Maame Blue’s astonishing debut is a tender portrait of diasporic community showcasing the resilience of love across time and space.

Black Boy Out of Time by Hari Ziyad

Black Boy Boy Out of Time is an eloquent and enlightening testament to the ways in which Black authors have always re-crafted genre categories that are not truly interested in our stories.

One of Them by Musa Okwonga

As it looks behind the beautifully imposing stone façades of the institution and dares to probe the heart of Britishness, One of Them is at once critical and lyrical.

Afropean by Johny Pitts

With Afropean, Pitts leads the way in spotlighting the flavour and entangled histories of Europe’s black communities through what may be one of the most transnational studies on the subject to date, at least in the Anglophone world.

My Sister by Selenis & Marizol Leyva

Many know Selenis Leyva from Orange Is the New Black where she plays inmate Gloria Mendoza. Fewer know that she and her trans sister, Marizol, co-authored a powerful and informative memoir.

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.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Following two estranged lineages, Homegoing is an instant classic that covers 300 years of transatlantic black history between Ghana and America.

Daughters of the Stone by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Published in 2009, Daughters of the Stone is a finalist for the PEN/Robert Bingham fellowship and an early, pioneering example of recent trends in black historical fiction.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

In the author’s note that bookends the novel, Acevedo states that it was inspired by the real Dominican Republic-bound flight AA587 which crashed in 2001.

Bestselling romance author Donna Hill tries her hand at historical fiction

When the fiery, Malcolm X-loving urban poet, Anita meets a reserved, MLK-supporting Southerner, it is love at first sight. Confessions in B-Flat is a memorable tale about what makes us radical and, indeed, what that word even means.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

A girl of many actions and few words who has no patience for the classroom, Emoni’s talent is in the kitchen where she makes magic with everything she touches.

"A Pride and Prejudice Remix" that packs a punch

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.

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.

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A conversation with Hari Ziyad

Bestselling author of Black Boy Out of Time and critically-acclaimed journalist talks about community care, writing, and abolition.

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

After 40 years of writing, Bernardine Evaristo’s 8th novel – Girl, Woman, Other – proved to be her golden ticket to renown and success.

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.

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

The industry’s current approach to diversity is – by its very nature – rooted in generality and therefore cultural ignorance.

A conversation with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Author of the critically-acclaimed Daughters of the Stone tells about her inspirations and the power of historical fiction.

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

Readers should be asking how these Black-authored titles would be different if they were also Black-edited, Black-designed, and Black-publicised.

15 Coming-of-Age Novels in English Translation

From Brazil and Haiti to Rwanda and Madagascar, travel the world via this list of 15 coming-of-age novels in English translation.

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15 Coming-of-Age Novels in English Translation

From Brazil and Haiti to Rwanda and Madagascar, travel the world via this list of 15 coming-of-age novels in English translation. 

Chibundu Onuzo's third novel, Sankofa, comes at the right time

Following The Spider King’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos, Sankofa tells the story of a mixed-race British woman’s search for her long-lost West African father.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Don’t let generic phrases like romance and black love fool you: this is a novel about photography, mental health, pain, joy, music, vulnerability, and ultimately salvation.