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.

The Booker-nominated Black Moses is a damning portrait of 80s Congo-Brazzaville

Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, Alain Mabanckou’s Black Moses zeroes in on corruption in late 1970s Congo-Brazzaville. In this cynical coming-of-age story, Mabanckou changes the narrative by troubling what is expected of the bildungsroman. Straddling an array of themes like orphan suffering, governmental corruption, and mental health in a seedy setting, this tale of endearing novice gangsters and charming sex workers offers a refreshing take on the well-worn tropes of urban fiction.