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.

Maame Blue’s debut romance is a breathtaking love letter to diaspora

Maame Blue's astonishing debut is a tender portrait of diasporic community showcasing the resilience of love across time and space. Bad Love has a somewhat misleading title. Though it is about how we hurt and are hurt in love, it is ultimately about the resilience of love across space and time. One of Jacaranda’s Twenty in 2020, Blue's exceptional gift for characterisation leads her to achieve something that very few do: a protagonist-led novel that makes you forget that it is.

Clap When You Land is a fierce verse novel based on the other 2001 plane crash

Clap When You Land tells the story of two unwitting sisters -- Camino in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira in New York -- who learn of each other’s existence and their father’s secret double life when he dies in a tragic plane crash. From the colourful houses of the Dominican Republic to the boroughs of New York, this 400-page rich landscape of considered and crafted verse feels majestic in its scope as it covers everything from colourism to how loss makes space for gain.

Elizabeth Acevedo’s only prose novel is a culinary, coming-of-age delight

With the Fire on High is Acevedo’s first and only prose novel. It tells the coming-of-age story of Emoni, a Puerto Rican-American senior growing up in Philadelphia. A girl of few words who has no patience for the classroom, Emoni's talent is in the kitchen where she makes magic with everything she touches. Drawing inspiration from her background in slam and hip-hop, Acevedo's self-assured voice radiates confidence, and every single word counts.