Celebrating Writers of Colour in 2021: An Updated Reading List

On the 25th of May 2020, the tragic death of George Floyd shook the globe and sparked a monumental level of anti-racist protests and social media movements. With weeks of lockdown looming, many turned to literature not only to educate themselves on the life-altering effects of racism but also to learn about the diverse lived experiences of people of colour. With the anniversary of George Floyd’s death now passed, it is important to turn our attention to the tidal wave of fantastic books continued to released by BIPOC writers since 2020. Whether you’re reading for self-education or pleasure, these recent and upcoming releases are unmissable.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar (2020)

Set in contemporary India, Majumdar’s debut is a fascinating character study based in the aftermath of a terrorist attack and the legacy that the event unleashes on ordinary people’s lives. The story closely follows our main character Jivan as a Facebook comment leaves her at the centre of the investigation into the attack. Majumdar’s novel is one of the brightest stars of the 2020 publishing calendar, offering an all too real tale about the impact of terrorism and a poignant reflection on class, prejudice and corruption in modern India but also the way our online lives can impact our real ones.

Lobizona by Romina Garber (2020)

For those looking for a new, diverse YA fantasy series, Lobizona is the perfect novel to pick up this summer. The first novel in Garber’s Wolves of No Worlds is not only a creative masterpiece but also tackles heavy issues such as immigration, identity, sexuality and heritage, from a very unique point of view. Drawing from her Argentinian roots, Garber skilfully weaves Argentinian folklore into her novel through Manu’s exploration of her identity. The novel reflects on how Latinx communities have historically been and continue to be affected by U.S. politics, from the novels explosive opening, Garber creates a journey of self-discovery that reinterprets some recognizable fairytale tropes.

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Take a Hint, Dani Brown follows protagonist Danika, a hardworking PhD student and the romantic security guard, Zaf, who works in her building. Hibbert’s second instalment of the Brown Sister’s Series is a charming modern romance that explores interracial and queer relationships in a very real and relatable way. If you’re a fan of the friends-to-lovers trope, as well a dynamic romance that is on the steamier side, then this is the perfect book for you to pick up this summer.

An Ordinary Wonder by Buki Papillon

Mainly set in 90s Nigeria, Papillon’s debut novel Ordinary Wonder is a moving story of courage, resilience and hope. Ordinary Wonder follows our intersex protagonist Oto, as she comes to terms with her teenage years in Nigeria, life at boarding school and her emigration to New York. Despite the heavy themes tackled in the book, Papillon’s effortless prose combined with African folklore makes for an incredible read. Ordinary Wonder delicately documents the challenges synonymous with adolescence especially for someone outside the boundaries of heteronormativity, but it also inspires hope from a place of unrelenting misery.

Biracial Britain: A Different Way of Looking at Race by Remi Adekoya

For those looking to learn more about the lived experiences of people of colour in the UK then Remi Adekoya’s Biracial Britain is the perfect book to pick up. With each chapter of this book following the experiences of a different biracial person, Adekoya’s engrossing exploration of what it means to be biracial in Britain will have something for everyone. Biracial Britain describes the interactions between multiracial and mono-racial individuals and groups in the UK in a way that is revealing and can be shocking to anyone unaware of these religious and cultural distinctions that are at play in our society.

One of Them: An Eton College Memoir by Musa Okwonga

One of Them is an incredibly topical coming-of-age memoir author Musa Okwonga’s time at Eton, perhaps the world’s most famous school, as a black man from an immigrant family. Not a page is wasted in this short but powerful book, not only does Okwonga tackle Britain’s deeply ingrained institutional racism but also the topic of elitism as a whole. With twenty of our Prime Minsters having attended Eton, this is a refreshing new look at the ‘old boys club’ of England, executed with careful tact and compassion.

Empowered: Trust the Process and Embrace Your Inner Power by Vee Kativhu

StudyTuber turned author Vee Kativhu’s upcoming book is not to be missed. While not being released until December this year, this debut novel promises to be the ultimate guide to black female empowerment. From ‘experiencing grief and leaving her home country of Zimbabwe for the UK, to attending disruptive state schools and working long hours to support herself and her mother’, Vee has faced much adversity. Vee always uses her experiences to help other underprivileged and underrepresented people recognise their own talent across the world through her work as a UN ambassador for female education. Vee’s debut novel is going to be unmissable for anyone in the UK education system and beyond.

Aimee Fisher

Featured Image Source: Pexels

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