There’s a movement to buy two books by Black writers this week (6/14-6/20), so I’m posting recommendations of authors/books.
I’ve been doing 3 a day, but for speculative fiction I bumping it up to 5.
I reviewed Sheree Renée Thomas’s short story collection Nine Bar Blues for Cyn’s Workshop in February, where I wrote that it’s “a spellbinding collection of short stories that takes readers on a journey through haunted fields that bloom with laughter and music and ends in the readers’ own heart.” Buy it here.
I shouldn’t need to tell you to read Colson Whitehead because he’s won two National Book Awards and Pulitzer Prize for his last two books. My favorite of his isn’t either of the more recent novels, but Zone One, a novel about trying to retake New York City after the zombie apocalypse. You can read him before he wins the Nobel Prize he’s heading for here.
Octavia Butler is one of the best speculative fiction writers to ever pick up a pen. Kindred is an excellent standalone novel where a woman in the present day is sent back before the Civil War. She’s not sure why she alternates back and forth, but it’s an excellent read. So are the rest of Butler’s novels and stories. Find them here.
Jeffery Renard Allen is a poet, but his novel The Song of the Shank is spectacular. It’s a historical novel, following the life of Blind Tom, a musical genius forced to perform. The paragraphs are huge, but the language in them keeps them from feeling tedious. Give it a shot here.
Jesmyn Ward, like Whitehead, is someone you should know because she won the National Book Award for her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing. It’s a powerful ghost story. Don’t sleep on her work, which is available here.