5 Books by Black Female Writers You Need to Read

african american woman reading

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog/Pexels

Racial inequality is a massive part of the cultural conversation right now, and many are wondering how they can better uplift and celebrate the Black community. One of the ways you can do that is by reading the works of Black writers. 

Like so many other industries, publishing has long been dominated by white gatekeepers. Whether your preference is poetry, plays, fiction, nonfiction, or otherwise, reading books by a diverse group of authors can help introduce you to artistry, history, and stories to which you may not otherwise have been exposed. 

We’ve collected a handful of books by Black female authors that’ll pique your interest, no matter what genre you prefer.

  1. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas: Don’t let the YA label deter you, because the story of Starr Carter is far from one to which only “young adults” can relate. Following the death of an unarmed Black teenager, Carter’s world is turned upside down in an all-too-real portrayal of an all-too-common occurrence in America.

  2. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones: Celestial and Roy are a young couple in love who see their life blown up when Roy is arrested and imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Emotional, raw, and gut-wrenching, we highly recommend reading this one with a friend. You’re going to want to discuss all the feelings this will dredge up.

  3. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae: This book comes from the brilliant mind behind HBO’s Insecure. Rae unpacks what it means to be an introvert, someone who loves PDA, and how it feels to be considered cool just because you’re Black. Unsurprisingly, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl will make you laugh out loud.

  4. My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite: Don’t you just hate it when your sister murders your boyfriends? This dark comedy about a woman who can’t seem to go through her day-to-day without being interrupted by her homicidal, sociopathic sister is a wicked fun time and a lightning-fast read.

  5. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyas: This unputdownable saga follows the lineage of half-sisters Effia and Esi. Born in 18th century Ghana, the novel follows what happens to the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on of these two women whose paths drastically diverge as one is sold into slavery and another marries a British slaver.

    This post is part of a monthlong February CircleAround series tied to Black History Month — the first since the loud calls for social justice this past summer — in which we asked writers to explore the topic of race in America from a variety of perspectives. The murder of George Floyd last summer catalyzed a national reckoning on race, with many questions to be answered. To see all the posts in the series — including relevant news stories — visit hereAnd if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to info@circlearound.com or post on our "2021 Inspiration Wall."

CircleAround is operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA. The site serves adult women nationwide by providing content that is uplifting, thought-provoking, and useful. We make revenue distributions back to GSUSA so they can further their mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.


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