Black Authors: The Foundation of Literature

Writers have shaped the foundation of our society for generations. Some of the most important and groundbreaking novelists are the ones who were pushed into the shadows of their paler counterparts for centuries. Here are some of the best written works of literature by Black Authors.


Book: Notes on Grief

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Summary: Notes on Grief is a heart-wrenching memoir written in the wake of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s father’s death during the pandemic. The book details the stages of grief as she shares firsthand how hard it was to watch the decline of her father’s health from across the world, due to travel restrictions. She also deals with the fact that she never truly got to say goodbye and how she had to continue living life without her best friend. Each page draws the reader into her life as she recounts the good and bad moments that shaped her and her father’s relationship.


Book: How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: Essays

Author: Kiese Laymon

Summary:  These thirteen essays provide an uncompromising, piercing, and humorous view of Kiese Laymon’s experience growing up in Southern Mississippi in the 1970s. Laymon’s award-winning first piece of nonfiction and profound writing provides a range of emotions within each essay. He brings you through a journey of his life dealing with racism from some of his closest friends and the culture that shaped his childhood and adult life. 


Book: The Poet X

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Summary: Winner of the 2018 New York Times Slam Poetry, this book showcases Xiomara Batista, an Afro-Latino teenager growing up in Harlem, New York. The novel talks about the struggles of abuse, sexism, and racism that she faces. Xiomara maneuvers around her conflicting emotions with the Catholic church, her mother’s traditional maternal ways, and her growing voice in her writing. Confused by her contradictory storm of emotions, Xiomara’s English teacher encourages her to enter her city’s poetry contest, where Xio vents about her struggling home life and mental state, while simultaneously dodging church classes and kissing boys behind park bench trash cans. This blazing story takes you on a whirlwind of emotions, making you root for Xio to finally speak her truth. 


Book: At Night all Blood is Black

Author: David Diop and Anna Moschovakis (Translator)

Summary: Originally translated from French and the winner of the 2021 International Booker Prize, Alfa Ndiaye is a Senegalese man who leaves his village in Northern Africa to fight for the French army during World War I. During a battle in German territory, Mademba Diop, Alfa’s childhood friend, gets fatally wounded and begs his best friend to finish him off and put him out of his misery. Not being able to kill his best friend, Alfa is forced to watch his friend slowly die in pain, as the guilt eats away at his morality. The novel slowly shows Alfa’s spiral into insanity as he starts to take revenge on the German soldiers and collects their bodies as souvenirs to try and avenge Mademba’s death. This story is a gritty, day-to-day story that shows the horrors of war and one man’s descent into madness.