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 waywardness it took to 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.

The winner of the 2020 Jhalak Prize is a pioneering travelogue about continental Black Europe

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 comprehensive and transnational studies on the subject to date. Any discussion of Afropean should begin with an acknowledgement of how it is a pioneering work, and certainly so within the Anglophone literary tradition. Pitts says it best: “the US exports its blackness; Europe does not.”

“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.

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.