“Tells the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress. Ravi , son of a peasant, joins in the general exodus to the city, and, floating through the indifferent streets, lands into the underworld of petty criminals.”, The Doctor’s Wife by Sawako Ariyoshi (1966). “Sarah Winnemucca, daughter of a Paiute chief, presents in her autobiography a Native American viewpoint on the impact of whites settling in the West.”, Wynema: A Child of the Forest by S. Alice Callahan (1891). The Street by Ann Petry was published in 1946 and became the first novel by an African-American woman to sell more than a million copies — all told, it sold more than 1.5 million. “Toundi Ondoua, the rural African protagonist of Houseboy, encounters a world of prisms that cast beautiful but unobtainable glimmers, especially for a black youth in colonial Cameroon.”, Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih (1966). After repeated rejections, Harriet decided to publish the book herself, an impressive feat for any woman of that era, let alone one that had spent years as a fugitive slave. 50 Amazing Books By Black Authors From The Past 5 Years. Authors Who Only Finished Writing One Novel - … “The first slave narrative to attract a significant readership reveals many aspects of the eighteenth-century Western world through the experiences of one individual.”, The Golden Days (The Story of the Stone, part 1) by Cao Xueqin (1791). In 2001 it was selected by a panel of Arab writers and critics as the most important Arab novel of the twentieth century.”, Silence by Shūsaku Endō (1966). Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, an autobiography that reads like a novel, was published in 1861. In 1857, Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813 –1897) was completing a manuscript for a barely fictionalized account of her life as a slave and her struggle to free herself and her children.
It takes place on Martha’s Vineyard, long an exclusive enclave of upper-middle-class Black families. “Like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Pauline Hopkins writes of the injustices suffered by blacks at the hands of whites. “Traces the lives of Joanna Mitchell and Peter Bye, whose families must come to terms with an inheritance of prejudice and discrimination as they struggle for legitimacy and respect.”, Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey Or, Africa for the Africans by Marcus Garvey (1924). “A distinct and graceful memoir of Camara Laye’s youth in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea.”, The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima (1954). “This volume collects both Wheatley’s letters and her poetry: hymns, elegies, translations, philosophical poems, tales, and epyllions—including a poignant plea to the Earl of Dartmouth urging freedom for America and comparing the country’s condition to her own.”, Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano (1789). From wise artists like Maya Angelou to new voices like Marlon James and Kiley Reid, and leaders like the Obamas, we've gathered some of the all time best books by Black authors to add to your reading list.
“The chronicle of an unloved, unwanted, wandering kitten who spends all his time observing human nature—from the dramas of businessmen and schoolteachers to the foibles of priests and potentates.”, The Soul of the Indian by Charles Alexander Eastman (1911). Keep an eye on your inbox. From the slave narratives of the 19th century, to the identity-seeking stories of the Harlem Renaissance, to the unique voices of recently departed authors like Toni Morrison and Ntozake Shange, these foundational classics have stood the test of time, and are still incredibly good reads. Wells (1930s). “A generous introduction to new readers of Countee Cullen and a more than generous offering to those of us who hold the poet dear.”, Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Here’s more about Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. The novel centers on the wedding day of Shelby, the daughter of a prominent, affluent African-American (and mixed-race) family, and Meade, a white jazz musician. “The story of the young daughter of a wealthy Mississippi planter who travels to the North to attend school, only to be sold into slavery in the South when it is discovered that she has Negro blood.”, A Chinese Ishmael and Other Stories by Sui Sin Far (1896).
by Ignacia Fulcher “A literary masterpiece of the Harlem Renaissance, Cane is a powerful work of innovative fiction evoking black life in the South.”, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (1923). CULTURE “One of the most widely read and controversial works of the Harlem Renaissance, The Blacker the Berry was the first novel to openly explore prejudice within the Black community.”, My Soul’s High Song: The Collected Writings of Countee Cullen by Countee Cullen (1920s-1940s).
“The Nobel Laureate’s first novel spotlights a small circle of young Nigerian intellectuals living in Lagos.”, The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley (1965). All but one are Westerners who have come to Delhi to experience an alternative way of life.”, The Interpreters by Wole Sowinka (1965).
It tells of a contemporary African-American woman who travels back in time to save an ancestor who happens to be a white slave owner. Creativity ultimately becomes the greatest source of satisfaction for her.
These questions and more are answered hilariously in Black No More, George S. Schuyler’s satiric romp.”, Jonah’s Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston (1934). If you’re looking for classics by women, check out my previous list, and you’ll find more classics by people of color on Rebecca’s list for the Read Harder Challenge.
“Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa created disturbing stories out of Japan’s cultural upheaval.”, Quicksand by Nella Larsen (1928). (1882 – 1961) was an American editor, poet, essayist, and novelist associated with the Harlem Renaissance.
“A landmark in Indian literature, among the first books about Indians written from the Indian point of view by an Indian.”, The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman (1929). The story of Vyry, a mixed-race slave, is based on the real-life experiences of Walker’s great-grandmother. “Tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of a mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family.”, Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata (1967). More about Plum Bun by Jessie Redmon Fauset. “A rare firsthand account of a courageous woman’s determination and endurance, this inspirational story also represents a valuable historical record of the continuing battle for freedom and the preservation of family.”, The Curse of Caste, or The Slave Bride by Julia C. Collins (1865). Why am I afraid to take risks with my writing? The central character, Bimala, is torn between the duties owed to her husband, Nikhil, and the demands made on her by the radical leader, Sandip.”, The Plays of Georgia Douglas Johnson by Georgia Douglas Johnson (1920s). This list of Black children’s books by Black authors are ones which you may want to get for the kiddos in your life. You may also enjoy: Fascinating African-American Women Writers of the 19th Century, Your email address will not be published. “A tale of thirty-six years (1271-1306)in the life of Lady Nijō, starting when she became the concubine of a retired emperor in Kyoto at the age of fourteen and ending, several love affairs later, with an account of her new life as a wandering Buddhist nun.”, On Love and Barley by Bashō Matsuo (late 1600s).
“The Diary recorded by Lady Murasaki (c. 973 c. 1020), author of The Tale of Genji, is an intimate picture of her life as tutor and companion to the young Empress Shoshi.”, Theologus Autodidactus by Ibn Al-Nafis (1277). “Brings to life the rich spirituality and morality of the Native Americans as they existed before contact with missionaries and other whites.”, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson (1912).
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