One Year On: A Black Lives Matter 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 to not only educate themselves on the life-altering effects of racism but to also understand the experiences of people of colour. While George Floyd’s death may not be making headlines a year on there has been a tidal wave of fantastic books released by BIPOC writers since 2020. Whether you’re reading for self-education or pleasure, these new and upcoming releases are unmissable.
A Burning — Megha Majumdar:
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 a the centre of the investigation into the attcack. 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 — Romina Garber:
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 forms a journey of self-discovery that reinterpret some recognisable fairytale tropes.
Take A Hint, Dani Brown — Talia Hibbert
‘Take a Hint, Dani Brown’ follows protagonist Danika, a hardworking Phd student and the romantic, muslim security guard, Zaf, who works in her building. Hibbert’s second installment 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 diverse romance that is on the steamier side, then this is the perfect book for you to pick up this summer.
An Ordinary Wonder — 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 emmigration 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 ‘normal’ but it also inspires hope from a place of unrelenting misery.
Biracial Britain: A Different Way of Looking at Race — Remi Adekoya
For those looking to learn more about the lives 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 the religious and cultural distinctions that are at play in our society.
One of Them: An Eton College Memoir — 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 insitiuational 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 but with careful tact and compassion.
Empowered: Trust the Process and Embrace Your Inner Power — 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 has always 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.