For the avid reader, these authors likely have a place of honor on your bookshelf. As we celebrate Black History Month, dive into the work of these literary powerhouses, whether you’re discovering them for the first time or delving deeper into amazing literature.
Most known for her novel The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas took a politically charged fight for equality and translated it into a heart-breaking, thought-provoking piece of fiction that feels achingly real.
Thomas released the book’s prequel this year: Concrete Rose. While you’re getting acquainted, be sure to check out On the Come Up and Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal for Writing Your Truth.
You know her name, even if you haven’t read her fiction or poetry. Maya Angelou’s work is emotionally charged and poignant, and more relevant than ever.
If you’re looking to dive deep into meaningful words, check out I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Mom & Me & Mom, And Still I Rise, and Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women.
This Nigerian-British novelist is most well known for her 2018 novel My Sister the Serial Killer. The book combines dark humor with stunning (almost lyrical) storytelling you’ll feel long after you set the book down.
Also worth a read is her 2014 book Icatha – the Soul Eater. Or mark your calendars for the May 27, 2021 release of The Baby is Mine: Quick Reads. Either way, you’ll be in good hands.
This feminist, Civil Rights activist and author is perhaps most well-known for the collection of essays and speeches Sister Outsider, a book so powerful it will have pride of place on your bookshelf.
After Sister Outsider, look for The Cancer Journals, The Black Unicorn: Poems, and Coal.
The Color Purple is an iconic text, so you’ve likely heard of Alice Walker. But you might not know her other works or her experience as an activist and poet.
Some additional works of hers worth familiarizing yourself with include: In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, The Temple of My Familiar, and You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories.
While Roxane Gay may wear many hats, it’s her literary work that has truly captivated audiences. Perhaps most well known for Bad Feminist, Gay is an author who knows how to get her readers coming back for more.
If you’re looking for the next great feminist read, check out Hunger, Ayiti, Difficult Women, and How to Be Heard.
An icon in her own right, Toni Morrison is a classic novelist who gives us a different perspective on the past. Her stories are haunting, mesmerizing, and ultimately some of the most powerful in the American literary community, which is why they should all be on your shelves.
As a starting point, look to Beloved, Song of Solomon, Sula, Home, or The Bluest Eye.
You don’t have to be an accomplished reader to recognize these names. Spend some time getting to know these emotional and moving literary geniuses this Black History Month. These novels, essay collections, and memoirs are powerful reads any time of year, so take this opportunity to fatten your bookshelves a bit. You’ll be glad you did.