10 LGBTQ Books by Black Writers: Reading books can bring us to places. It allows us to imagine things, and it also becomes one of the resources that contribute to the foundation of what we believe in. Each book contains a particular narrative, most probably from the one who wrote it.
So, why don’t we do a quick check-in your bookshelf? Let’s try to evaluate the kinds of books that we read and assess whether we are inadvertently leaving out books that we can greatly learn from! There’s a spectrum of identities out there, and it would be interesting to read from authors who have an intersection of these identities – those who are non-binary, black queers, disabled, neurodivergent, amongst many.
Perspectives differ given the identity of the author, so it’s best to start exploring different perspectives through the authors that live it.
What books to read?
10 LGBTQ Books by Black Writers We Need to Start Reading Now
We’ve rounded up ten books that do not solely reflect one identity. This will help you widen your worldview, possibly reevaluate your biases, and exposes you to a whole new world waiting to be explored.
1. Rivers Sololom
Rivers Solomon is a speculative fiction writer with a theme of spaceships and mermaids. Solomon uses these two to write about identity, family bonds and queerness. One of Solomon’s books is entitled Ah Unkindness of Ghosts which tells the story of Antebellum horrors repeatedly happening on a spaceship.
Another novel, The Deep, is a mythology about children of pregnant African women thrown overboard from slave ships. These books talk about some traumatic subjects, so make sure to read reviews and trigger warnings first.
2. Kacen Callender
Felix Ever After is one of their hit reads as it is a story of a queer, black, trans teen in search for his happy ending – see the intersection of identities there? No wonder, Callender is considered to be a powerhouse of today’s queer fiction. The stories are written for audiences in the middle grade and young adults and adults as well. Hurricane Child, This is an Epic Love Story, King and Dragonflies are books worthy of a read, too.
3. N.K. Jemisin
The City We Became is Jemisin’s most recent hit. The story is about living avatars of New York City, including multiple queer characters fighting to save the city. How Long Til Black Future Month? And The Fifth Season is compelling queer stories you should check out, too.
4. Jacqueline Woodson
Woodson is known for her insightful and passionate writing about queer identity. She positions each word into beautiful, lyrical prose that brings her story about adolescence, Red at the Bone is about memory and generational identity and her story Brown Girl Dreaming is a story of her recounting her childhood.
5. Alyssa Cole
Read about love and romance differently with Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royal series. Part of the series is Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is about a prince’s assistant and a jewelry maker getting a second chance. Cole’s A Prince on Paper talks about an underestimated cousin of a princess and a bisexual step-prince falling in love. Can’t Escape love is a love story about a nerdy bi businesswoman and a puzzle-obsessed designer.
6. Akwaeke Emezi
One Emezi must-read is the story Freshwater, a story about a Nigerian woman living with fractured selves. This story was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award.
7. Roxane Gay
Being a literary icon, Gay’s debut collection Ayiti is a book you should add in your shelf today. It explores Haitian diaspora in the lens of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
8. Jewelle Gomez
Gomez’ poetry collection Oral Tradition: Selected Poems Old and New is a good read about her exploration of her identity as a Black Native American lesbian.
9. Leah Johnson
Black queer girls should wear the crown! With Leah Johnson, You Should See Me in a Crown is a story about someone who needs to be prom queen to win a scholarship and get out of her town.
10. Samantha Irby
What it’s like to be a black, queer woman? Samantha Irby writes about that. Prepare to laugh, enjoy, relate and be heartbroken with her essays. Her original piece Meaty is a read you’ll be emotional with a good friend.
Let us know what you think of our 10 LGBTQ Books by Black Writers We Need to Start Reading Now, and comment below if there are other books, or book reviews you feel should be included as ‘must reads’?
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