For Black Art, 2018 was a historic year. With Oscar-nominated films like Black Panther and If Beale Street Could Talk and widely-read fiction like Tayari Jones’s AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, we’ll surely celebrate it during Black History Months to come. But 2018 was only the beginning of exciting fiction, poetry, and nonfiction to come. In 2019 buzz-worthy debuts like QUEENIE by Candice Carty-Williams, Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s WE CAST A SHADOW, and so many more, will be published along side beloved Black writers like Marlon James, Angie Thomas, and Colson Whitehead. Here are a few of the Black authors you should be reading this year.
Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at his elite Manhattan prep school. But every summer, Benji escapes to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own in the Hamptons. And although he’s just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that the summer of ’85 might be one for the ages.
This story of a mother trying to stay clean and her son, who begins selling crack to support his mom and siblings, is in part based on Mitchell S. Jackson’s experience growing up black in Portland, Oregon (also known as America’s whitest city). A commanding meditation on social judgment, THE RESIDUE YEARS is utterly commanding and a force to be reckoned with.