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Kia ora and thanks for joining us in this literary journey!

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Black owned bookstores and the Black literary industry was hit really hard, despite the increased desire for anti-racist books and general books on Black history and culture spurred by the BLM Movement.

 

The literary pantheon of Africa and the Diaspora goes far beyond our bondage/enslavement and war against colonialism and white supremacy. Some of the greatest love stories, epic biographies, fascinating science-fiction and tantalizing thrillers have been written by Black authors. And while Black books hold a special place in the hearts of all those who whakapapa back to the African continent, the stories told and lives examined in our writing have touched the hearts and minds of every culture, language and society that has existed on this planet.

 

With that in mind, alongside the BCA wider community we have curated a collection of books that will start or restart you on a journey of essential readings from Africa and the Diaspora.

Curated titles

  • African Love Stories: An Anthology, by Ata Ama Aidoo

  • Afterlives, by Abdulrazak Gurnah

  • Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Aquarius: The book of Me, by Afua Njoki Richardson

  • Beer in the Snooker Club, by Waguih Ghali

  • Black Girl, Call Home, by Jasmine Mans

  • Black River, by Myles Ojabo

  • Black Sparticus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture, by Sudhir Hazareesingh

  • Bleeding of the Stone, by Ibrahim El Koni

  • Broken Glass, by Alain Mabanckou

  • Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson

  • Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi

  • Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, by Wole Soyinka

  • City of God, by Paulo Lins

  • Do Not Say Its Not Your Country, by Nnamdi Oguike

  • For Bread Alone, by Mohamed Choukri

  • Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi

  • Ghana Must Go, by Taiye Selasi

  • Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernadine Evaristo

  • Girls at War and Other Stories, by Chinua Achebe

  • Green Days by the River, by Michael Anthony

  • How Beautiful We Were by Mbolo Mbue

  • Lightseekers, by Femi Kayode

  • Listen Layla, by Yassmin Abdel-Magied

  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison

  • Next Year in Havana, by Chanel Cleeton

  • Nigerians in Space, by Deji Bryce Olukotun

  • Replenishing The Earth, by Wangari Maathai

  • Salt by Nayyirah Waheed

  • Spells of a Voodoo Doll: The Poems, Fiction, Essays and Plays of Assotto Saint, by Assotto Saint

  • Sulwe, by Lupita Nyongo

  • The Fugitives, by Jamal Mahjoub

  • The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon

  • The Madhouse, by TJ Benson

  • The Mermaid of Black Conch, by Monique Roffey

  • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae

  • The Moors Account, by Laila Lalami

  • The Mystic Masseur, by VS Naipaul

  • The Son of the House, by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onubia

  • The Unmarked Girl, by Jeanelle Frontin

  • The West Indian Lawyer - Keith Sobion, by Justin Sobion

  • The Wifes Tale, by Aida Edemariam

  • The Wormwood Trilogy, by Tade Thompson

  • Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim, by Leah Vernon

  • When the Sky is Ready The Stars Will Appear, by EC Osondu

  • Wizard of the Crow, by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

  • Zarah: The Windseeker, by Nnedi Okorafor

 

Book Reviews

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Children of Blood and Bone

By Tomi Adeyemi
Reviewed by Bareeka Vrede

What a wonderful experience to escape into a fantasy world, filled with magic and lore, and be able to see yourself in the characters. Toni Adeyemi's trilogy is a delicious feast of love, power, and beautiful characters. Written for young adults, the story tells of the protagonist and magic-user Zélie as she sets off on a fast-paced hero's adventure. The wonderfully crafted world finds a lot of its lore and background loosely based on African Mythology (specifically West Africa). It is a breath of fresh air to see a world specifically crafted based on black culture and mythology, where the characters are fully fleshed out and not simply supporting roles. 

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I do not come to you by chance

By: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Reviewed by Myles Ojabo

As a Nigerian, I feel uneasy when non-Nigerians discuss scamming in my presence. Some of them tend to relate scamming to Nigeria which leaves me wondering if my character is also under their scrutiny. Regardless of this, I got to like Nwaubani's main characters, who made a living by defrauding fellow Nigerians and citizens of the first worlds. The author reveals the criminals' human side, showing that they were capable of being loved and loving others. The novel is highly informative and reveals the real face of Nigerian scam. The story is funny, and at the same time sad. The business of scamming seems to have become a dream occupation for some young Nigerians.

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Salt

By Nayyirah Waheed
Reviewed by Octavius Jones

When I first learned of the poetry book Salt, I was amazed that a poet had not only garnered much exposure and impact through social media, but also self-published their own work. The poems in Salt do not sprawl across multiple pages, but hit you as the reader in your heart and head with the most beautifully chosen words and phrases in the English language. I used Salt in all the courses I taught as an adjunct professor and it was the only book that had an impact on every student regardless of their racial identity, cultural background, socio-economic status or sexuality. 

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Black Spartacus The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture,

by Sudhir Hazareesingh
Reviewed by Justin Sobion

The Black Spartacus took Toussaint Louverture’s story to another level. Indeed his life was epic – as the title suggests – and mysterious. Toussaint rose to fame as the first black leader in the ‘New World’ – St Domingue (now known as Haiti). As the leader, Toussaint held the respect of blacks and the white aristocracy and constantly outmanoeuvred Napoléon much to the latter’s chagrin. The same Napoléon had him arrested and deported to France where he eventually died in complete isolation at Fort de Joux. The Black Spartacus reminds us of that once powerful, black, Caribbean nation that fell under the leadership of one of the shrewdest statesmen of all time.  

 

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About the curators