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Fiction by Black Authors

Fiction by Black Authors

This list of some our favorite fiction by Black authors is roughly organized from youngest to oldest.

Playlist Tags: Wild Rumpus Books genre: Fiction & Literature fiction black authors juneteenth-featured

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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

By Roseanne A. Brown
Narrated by: Jordan Cobb & A.J. Beckles
Length: 12 hours 3 minutes

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

“Escape into a time of heroes with Achilles' heels, women in armor, villains who might not be, murderous gardens, feisty gods, and little girls with terrible power. Enter, and gasp in awe at the rich, ancient culture, like no other in fiction, at the ricochet speed of shattering trust, the twisting of allegiances and the fracturing facets of an origin myth about to explode through the crowded streets during a raucous national festival. Two teens have explicit reasons to find and kill each other, one hobbled by ignorance, the other by illness, both with motives of love and desperation, each on opposite sides of a fracturing empire. Who is the griot putting each on such an unlikely path to meet? Or is there a more disturbing reason these two are drawn to each other? Highly recommended for teens and adults!”

The Haunted Bookshop image Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
Audiobook details

Raybearer

The Raybearer Series: Book #1

By Jordan Ifueko
Narrated by: Joniece Abbott-Pratt
Length: 13 hours 48 minutes

Raybearer

“Such a cool fantasy novel with an incredible magic system! Perfect for fans of "Children of Blood and Bone." I highly recommend listening to the audiobook to further immerse yourself in this beautiful world that Ifueko has created.”

An Unlikely Story image Coleen, An Unlikely Story
Audiobook details

Saving Ruby King

A Novel

By Catherine Adel West
Narrated by: Kim Staunton, Imani Parks, Ron Butler, Adam Lazarre-White, Lloyd Roberson II & Terra Strong Lyons
Length: 10 hours 14 minutes

Saving Ruby King

“Saving Ruby King is a slow burn—a richly woven three-generation history of two families on the south side of Chicago, bound forever by trauma and religion. A tragic murder in the present unearths secret wrongdoings of the past. Intergenerational trauma is a primary focus, and the given circumstances allow readers to both hate and empathize with nearly all of the main characters. The full cast—including the omniscient church building—narrates the audiobook beautifully. Readers will learn that the bonds of true friendship can withstand anything. Trigger warnings: domestic violence, incest, rape.”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
Audiobook details
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The Vanishing Half

A Novel

By Brit Bennett
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 11 hours 33 minutes

The Vanishing Half

“The Vanishing Half may go down as one of my favorite books of all time. Brit Bennett's narrative style is engrossing, the constant shift in timeline beyond compelling. But more than that, this is a book that deals with so much - racism, colorism & passing, sexism & domestic abuse, trans rights, family dynamics... the list goes on - with unbelievable nuance and empathy. A timely, complex, mysterious (and romantic) epic, The Vanishing Half is a force to be reckoned with. A must read for all - but especially worth consideration for book clubs and classroom reading lists.”

Second Star to the Right image Britt, Second Star to the Right
Audiobook details

Lakewood

A Novel

By Megan Giddings
Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
Length: 8 hours 33 minutes

Lakewood

“Lena just lost her grandmother, her mother has health problems and to top of off they are having financial problems. Lena takes a mysterious job in hopes help her mother and to pay off bills. Lakewood takes you into a dark world of medical testing where human rights are disregarded. This whole story felt more than real and makes you question how far you would go for to help your family.”

Birdy's Bookstore image Alexandra, Birdy's Bookstore
Audiobook details

The City We Became

A Novel
The Great Cities Trilogy: Book #1

By N. K. Jemisin
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 16 hours 12 minutes

The City We Became

“I love N.K. Jemisin’s books, I love New York City, and I love this book about the soul and personification of New York. The City We Became might just be my favorite book to be published in 2020. This story is filled with tension, humor, and great characters, with a guest appearance near and dear to me. While this book is the beginning of a trilogy, it is completely satisfying as a stand-alone novel. Read it and be happy.”

Powell's Books image Doug Chase, Powell's Books
Audiobook details

Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid
Narrated by: Nicole Lewis
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Such a Fun Age

“A racial comedy of manners for the digital age, Such a Fun Age is a hilarious and cringe-inducing look at white people trying to do the right thing: badly, and for all the wrong reasons. Nicole Lewis's reading is a dazzling feat: expertly code-switching between the voice Emira uses with her friends, to the voice she uses with her boss, Alix, to the voice her boss's suburban black friend, Tamara, uses with Alix, to the voice Tamara uses with Emira. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book half as much without this effortlessly nuanced narration.”

The Book Table image Rachel, The Book Table
Audiobook details

Little Family

A Novel

By Ishmael Beah
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 7 hours 54 minutes

Little Family

“Little Family by Ishmael Beah is a powerful story of paradox of the effects of war and the determined human spirit to not only survive but to forge connection and community. Beah intricately develops his characters, while also conveying the landscape of their environment. This is an important perspective on coming-of-age that shouldn't be missed. Highly recommend.”

Leaves Book and Tea Shop image Tina, Leaves Book and Tea Shop
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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

By Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by: Aunjanue Ellis
Length: 8 hours 57 minutes

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

“Zora Neale Hurston’s (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Barracoon) body of work continues to grow and impress. In Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, 21 short stories, including several “lost” pieces depicting the Great Migration to northern cities and Harlem’s educated New Negro middle class, offer an updated perspective of Hurston’s Harlem Renaissance-era cultural commentary. These stories, written in the 1920s and 30s, explore toxic masculinity and women’s agency, urban vs. rural class representations, colorism/shadeism, identity politics, and the intersectionality of race, class, age, and gender in a way that remains relevant today. And, by using humor, folklore, and her unique combination of delicate prose and vernacular speech, Hurston also has written thoroughly engaging slices-of-life, always centering Black characters, from a very specific time period. To fully appreciate Hurston’s stories, Tayari Jones (An American Marriage) recommends in her foreword, “reading this work aloud, enjoying the feel of the words in your mouth, and the sound of English tightened and strummed like the strings of a banjo.””

River Dog Book Co. image BrocheAroe, River Dog Book Co.
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These Ghosts are Family

A Novel

By Maisy Card
Narrated by: Karl O’Brian Williams
Length: 9 hours 55 minutes

PEN/Hemingway Award For Debut Novel Finalist​
Shortlisted for the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

A “rich, ambitious debut novel” (The New York Times Book Review) that reveals the ways in which a Jamaican family forms and fractures over generations, in the tradition of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

Stanford Solomon’s shocking,... Read more »

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We Ride Upon Sticks

A Novel

By Quan Barry
Narrated by: Isabel Keating
Length: 14 hours 44 minutes

We Ride Upon Sticks

“This is such a fun romp! It has everything you could possibly want in a book: field hockey, witches, and ’80s bangs that have literally taken on a life of their own. Set in Salem in the 1980s, we follow a group of high school field hockey players as they struggle with their new dark powers and attempt to end their losing streak. One of the strangest, most satisfying books I have read in a long time!”

Hillary Smith image Hillary Smith, Copperfield's Books Calistoga
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The Freedom Artist

By Ben Okri
Narrated by: Ben Okri
Length: 6 hours 51 minutes

In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner?

When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realization that to find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of... Read more »

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The Gone Dead

A Novel

By Chanelle Benz
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 8 hours 6 minutes

The Gone Dead

“Billie James travels to the Mississippi Delta from Philly for the first time since her father’s mysterious death, some 30 years before. Although she was there that night, she has no recollection of the events that occurred, but learns later that she went missing afterwards. This new detail causes her to start digging into what really happened, which gets her into trouble with people who want the past to remain buried. An emotional and tense novel about racism, justice, family, and the truth, Benz’s debut has so much edge to it that I could not stop reading!”

Fountain Bookstore image Carl Kranz, Fountain Bookstore
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The Death of Vivek Oji

A Novel

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by: Yetide Badaki & Chukwudi Iwuji
Length: 7 hours 38 minutes

If you enjoyed Transcendent Kingdom, then you’ll love The Death of Vivek Oji.

“This is a deeply emotional book. It's the story of Vivek’s life and death. Vivek was a person who shifted identities, whose relationship to the world was at once heavy and heartbreakingly delicate. Emezi brings her mastery of characters and language to this book, and you will not want to put it down. The Death Of Vivek Oji is a work of art, it will make you feel.”

Off the Beaten Path image Izzy, Off the Beaten Path
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How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

A Novel

By Cherie Jones
Narrated by: Danielle Vitalis
Length: 8 hours 41 minutes

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

“Lala wants more. More than her grandmother’s small house and strict admonishments. More than a hand on her head for her birthday. And certainly more than her grandmother’s tale about the one-armed sister, a tale of what happens to disobedient girls who venture where they shouldn’t. But mostly Lala wants her loving and protective mother who sang her name to her and who was murdered in her home while a very young Lala stood outside. Lala’s story becomes intertwined with the stories of Mira Whalen, the wealthy woman whose husband is murdered; Tone, the surfer gigolo; and her criminal husband Adan. They are stories of poverty, sexual abuse, loss, and pain. As their stories converge, there are harsh revelations for both the characters and the reader, and continuous suspense. This novel of poverty and survival, beautifully narrated, drew me in and often left me horrified at the actions and abuses of its characters. The suspense ebbs and flows but is ever-present, leading to a very effective open-ended conclusion.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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Ordinary Hazards

A Novel

By Anna Bruno
Narrated by: Amanda Dolan
Length: 9 hours 5 minutes

For fans of Celeste Ng and Mary Beth Keane comes an impeccably paced and transfixing debut novel that “vividly renders the messiness of a single human life in all its joy and heartbreak” (Claire Lombardo, New York Times bestselling author).

It’s 5 p.m. on a Wednesday when Emma settles into her hometown bar with a motley crew of locals, all... Read more »

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Transcendent Kingdom

A novel

By Yaa Gyasi
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes

Transcendent Kingdom

“Gifty immigrated from Ghana, grew up in Alabama, and is working on a PhD in neuroscience at Stanford, where she experiments with mice. She has always felt she wasn’t cool enough or white enough, and tries to prove her value through her brilliance. She tells her raw and powerful story of racism, addiction, mental illness, and especially faith and prayer, all while trying hard to mend a complicated relationship with her mother. This second novel from the author of the award-winning novel Homegoing is compelling and so, so beautifully written.”

Wellesley Books image Sally Weitzen, Wellesley Books
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