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.

Abi Daré’s debut charts a new path for Nigerian literature

Abi Daré’s was one of the many middle-class Lagosian families who hired house girls for various domestic chores, and she noticed growing up how poorly treated these girls were. The Girl with the Louding Voice

The coming-of-age story of a Nigerian trans woman that will change you

The Death of Vivek Oji is primarily interested in all the ways that love manifests itself and how limited understandings of sexuality constrain a more expansive understanding of everything love can be. Akwaeke Emezi highlights the fallibility of social perception and the limits of what we think we know. As Sarah Neilson writes in her review for Lambda Literary, "the inheritance of reductive and harmful colonial structures of gender is a great arcing tragedy of the story."

Bernardine Evaristo cuts her teeth on a fun verse novel

The Emperor's Babe is an irreverent and salacious romp that merges together tradition and contemporaneity in a startlingly unique way. Published almost 20 years before Girl, Woman, Other and four years before the similarly daring Blonde Roots, The Emperor’s Babe offers a distinctively different Evaristo. When not slyly winking at the reader who is equal parts befuddled and delighted, this Evaristo reveals the years of genre and narrative waywardness it took to finally mould her distinctive brand of literary experimentation for popular success.