Have you written your reading list for 2019, yet? No? What are you waiting for? Let me lend a hand. Whether you’re a fervent fantasy fan, longing for some literary, hungry for a historical or crazy about crime, there’s a 2019 book out there for you. Here are 19 books by Black authors coming out this year.
(Click the book jackets to buy or pre-order)
Helen has just moved to North London with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings. Her stress levels are off the charts as she tries to juggle new friends, a big crush and the secret fact that she’s half mortal and half Greek God.
25 years after Margaret Busby’s landmark anthology, Daughters of Africa, this new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 women writers of African descent. It showcases key figures and popular contemporaries, as well as overlooked historical authors and today’s new and emerging writers. Amongst the contributors are: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Malorie Blackman, Bernardine Evaristo, Aminatta Forna, Andrea Levy, Taiye Selasi, Warsan Shire and Zadie Smith.
Man Booker winner Marlon James draws on African history, mythology and his own rich imagination for the first instalment in his Dark Star trilogy. Tracker is hired to find a missing child. Against his better instincts, he allies himself with a mercenary group of characters on the same mission. Their quest takes them from one ancient city to another, across forests and rivers and into the path of creatures intent on destroying them. Soon Tracker has to ask himself who is this child they’re seeking? And is the mission worth his life?
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit it big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
From the early lessons she learned growing up in South London, to the moment she gave up the 9 to 5 to do what she loved, Patricia Bright’s story will revolutionise how you think about work, life, and what it means to succeed.
6. American Spy – Lauren Wilkenson
It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s a brilliant black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. When she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister. Yes, even though a part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.
In the year that follows, Marie will observe Sankara, seduce him, and ultimately have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American.
When Jack meets Kate at a party he falls hard. They hit it off and the future looks bright. But then Kate dies. Somehow her death sends Jack back to the beginning, to the day they met. Kate is there again. Beautiful, radiant, charming as ever. Jack fears he might be losing his mind. But, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Alas, Jack quickly learns that his actions have consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.
A recipe book that aims to encourage children to cook with parents, friends, family or on their own.
We meet Queenie during a severe downhill spiral. She has just split up with her boyfriend and decides to heal by embarking on a casual sex bender. The whirl of new partners merely hammers her self-confidence further, her job at a national newspaper starts to suffer and the chafing discomfort of being a young black woman in a world that sees you as less reaches critical levels.
10. The Half God of Rainfall – Inua Ellams
There’s something about Demi. When he’s angry, rain clouds gather. When he cries, rivers burst their banks. And the first time he takes a shot on a basketball court, the Gods sit up and take notice. Demi’s mother knows her son is special. It was her extraordinary beauty that resulted in a son half Nigerian-mortal and half Greek God. She also knows that the Gods can be jealous and petty. When Demi unwittingly sparks Zeus’ wrath his mother is willing to sacrifice everything to protect him.
The Half God of Rainfall will be performed live at the Kiln theatre in London from April through to May.
Delighted by a surprise invitation, Miriam Macy sails off to a luxurious private island with six strangers. Miriam soon discovers that she and the rest of her companions have been brought to the remote island under false pretences—and all harbour a secret. Sporadic cell-phone coverage and miles of ocean keeps the group trapped in paradise. And strange accidents keep them suspicious of each other, as one by one, they all fall down.
Azalea “Knot” Centre lives in the small African American community of West Mills. There she does exactly as she pleases, usually with a bottle of moonshine in her hands. Her non-conformist ways have driven away her family and made her a pariah in the town. They’ve also made her the kind of desperate soul Otis Long likes to fix. But as he tries to salvage Knot’s life, troubles in his own start to bubble up. The small town tale with a big heart spans the years from 1941 to 1987.
Pieta has a secret. Jody has a secret. They kept quiet to protect themselves. Will telling all save or sacrifice each other?
Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, Colson Whitehead tells a story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister Summer walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again. The door to the roof is locked, and no footsteps are found. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing woman, Autumn must pursue answers on her own, all while grieving her mother’s recent death.
In the follow-up to the award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird: Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is on the hunt for a boy who’s gone missing. But it’s the boy’s family of white supremacists who are his real target.
17. The Man Who Saw Everything – Andrea Levy
Andrea Levy returns with a narrative that slips between contemporary London and the German Democratic Republic of the late 1980s.
18. Grand Union – Zadie Smith
Zadie’s first short story collection includes 10 new stories along with her most lauded pieces from The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Granta. The stories cover a lot of ground from first loves to cultural despair, to the desire to be the subject of your own experience.
19. The City We Became – N. K. Jemisin
Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. Turns out New York City has six. And it will take five New Yorkers working together to defend their city from an ancient evil in the first book of this new series.