Homegoing provides an African response to the transatlantic slave trade

This critically acclaimed epic-like novel offers a wealth of insight into 300 years of transatlantic Black history. What sells many on Homegoing is how Yaa Gyasi insists upon something, palpable and yet elusive, that the ugly circumstances of history cannot lay claim to. Homegoing perfectly anticipates the zeitgeist and speaks perfectly to the idea that we are all, at the end of the day, family.

7 Historical Fiction Novels out in 2021

While Robert Jones Jr.'s The Prophets and Ladee Hubbard's The Rib King have been released to much critical acclaim, 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: "we need the lion to tell it as well", says a veteran of historical fiction and the author of Daughters of the Stone Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa. These are some of the many historical fiction novels out this year that tell our side of the story.

“I learned to read between the lines”: A conversation with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

We had the 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. In this interview, she tells us more about her inspirations, the power of historical fiction, its demands on the writing process, and her forthcoming novel.

Daughters of the Stone is a pioneering debut in Afro-Puerto Rican historical fiction

Published in 2009, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s Daughters of the Stone is finalist for the PEN/Robert Bingham fellowship and a pioneering example of recent trends in Black historical fiction. Divided into five sections each named after a new focaliser, this multigenerational tome begins the moment Fela arrives at a Puerto Rican sugar plantation. All these stories culminate in that of Carisa, a disillusioned writer who voyages back to West Africa in order to learn the truth about her people.

Bestselling romance author Donna Hill tries her hand at historical fiction

When the fiery, Malcolm X-loving urban poet Anita gets on a bus and meets a reserved, MLK-supporting Southerner who is moving to Harlem for the cause, it is love at first sight. What makes this historical romance necessary is its willingness to recruit love’s lessons on empathetic understanding to, as bell hooks might have it, disarm the legitimacy of any politics that attempts to exist without it.