The past few weeks have been eye opening for me. While I have always supported Black and other POC people and artists, I have to admit I never understood the difference between being non-racist and actively anti-racist.
More than ever I am aware of the privilege I experience as a white American. I hope to keep learning and keep applying what I’m learning in every aspect of my life. Books are just one area of that, but here’s what I’m doing when it comes to amplifying Black authors.
Even a month ago if you had asked me what the last book I read by a Black author was I would have replied, “You know, I’m not sure. I rarely pay attention to the author, I focus on the book.”
However, now I’ve realized that I rarely read Black authors. This isn’t because I avoid them, but it is because I don’t consciously seek them out. “I just read the book, and I love to find Black authors whose books I love,” isn’t a bad statement, but it is a passive statement.
Being passive and waiting for books by Black authors to come across our radar isn’t enough. The publishing industry does not support Black authors, compensate Black authors, or promote Black authors like they do white authors. So if I just wait around for books to come to me, books by Black authors won’t come across my radar as much as books by white authors.
So over the past few weeks I’ve been seeking out Black authors and books to add to my reading list. This is a list of fantasy and sci-fi books by Black authors. Many of them are already out, but I’ve added a few books set to publish this later this year and next year at the end of the list.
None of the links in this post are affiliate links. I don’t benefit monetarily by you purchasing any of these books through this post.
I have linked to the Goodreads page for each of these books so you can decide where you’d like to purchase them. I recommend seeking out a local Black owned bookstore in your area and ordering from them.
As I learn more and find more books and resources, I am adding them to a highlight on my Instagram.
A huge shout out to @AyanaGray on Twitter for bringing many of these books to my attention. Also on Instagram @leeandlow @butlersbookbag @uppercaseya for educating me about Black authors and the publishing industry and about many of the books on this list.
The first in a fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls—they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things.
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray; they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.
Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.
Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year-old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset.
Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood—a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne—because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.
There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again. Expected publication July 7th 2020.
Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?
Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. Expected publication August 2020.
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her previous life, family memories, or her childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at a local university seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. Expected publication September 2020.
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Expected publication February 2021.
Inspired by Africa’s child soldier crisis and set in a West African fantasy world, the novel follows a young Scion—the all but extinct descendants of the ancient Orisha gods—who is drafted into the very military that has hunted her kind for centuries. Stealing the opportunity to uncover what happened the night her mother disappeared, she will do anything to learn the truth —even if it means becoming the killer the army demands. Expected publication 2021.
A Caribbean-inspired fantasy, the novel follows two witches from enemy castes—one seeking power, and one seeking revenge—who will stop at nothing to overthrow the Witch Queen, even if it means forming an alliance with each other and unleashing chaos on their island nation. Expected publication 2021.
The novel follows Rue, a black teen from a poor neighborhood who, after learning she is half-human, half-goddess, must embrace both sides of her heritage to unlock her magic and destroy the racist gods poisoning her neighborhood with violence, drugs and crime. Publication is slated for spring 2021.
After failing to come into her powers, 16-year-old Voya—a Black witch living in near-future Toronto—is forced to choose between losing her family’s magic forever, a heritage steeped in centuries of blood and survival, or murdering her first love, a boy who is supposedly her genetic match. Expected publication is 2021.
Set in Victorian England, the book follows Iris, an African tightrope walker with a secret: she cannot die. But when Iris gets involved with a mysterious society that’s convinced the world is ending, she’s drafted in the fight-to-the-death Tournament of Freaks where she learns the terrible truth of who and what she really is. Publication is slated for summer 2021.
Within These Wicked Walls is an Ethiopian-inspired Jane Eyre retelling in which Andromeda—an unlicensed debtera—is hired to rid a castle of its dangerous curses, only to fall in love with the boy whose life hangs in the balance. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021