Decolonise Your Bookshelf: A Reading List

Here, you will find an ever-growing reading list of literature written by authors, writers, and poets of colour. The list covers prose fiction, prose non-fiction (including critical and theoretical), and poetry. We will be updating this list all throughout the year.

Prose Fiction

Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie: 

  • Purple Hibiscus
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
  • The Thing Around Your Neck
  • Americanah

Chinua Achebe:

  • Things Fall Apart
  • Arrow of God
  • No Longer at Ease
  • Anthills of the Savannah 
  • A Man of the People

James Baldwin:

  • Go Tell it On the Mountain
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Just Above My Head
  • Another Country 
  • Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone

Gwendolyn Brooks:

  • Maud Martha

Octavia E. Butler:

Patternist Series

  • Patternmaster
  • Mind of My Mind
  • Survivor
  • Wild Seed
  • Clay’s Ark
  • Seed to Harvest

Xenogenesis series

  • Dawn 
  • Adulthood Riles
  • Imago
  • Xenogenesis
  • Lilith’s Brood

Parable series

  • Parable of the Sower
  • Parable of the Talents

Langston Hughes:

  • Not Without Laughter
  • The Ways of White Folks
  • Tambourines to Glory
  • Laughing to Keep from Crying
  • Simple Series:
  • Simple Speaks His Mind
  • Simple Takes a Wife
  • Simple Stakes a Claim
  • Simple’s Uncle Sam

Toni Morrison:

  • Beloved
  • The Bluest Eye
  • A Mercy
  • Song of Solomon
  • Tar Baby
  • Home
  • Sula
  • Jazz
  • Paradise
  • Love
  • God Help the Child

Alice Walker:

  • The Color Purple
  • The Third Life of Grange Copeland
  • Meridian
  • In Love and Trouble
  • You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories
  • Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • The Temple of My Familiar

Jacqueline Woodson:

  • Autobiography of a Family Photo
  • Another Brooklyn
  • Brown Girl Dreaming
  • Feather 
  • After Tupac and D Foster
  • The Dear One
  • From the Notebooks of the Melanin Sun
  • If you come Softly
  • I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This
  • Lena
  • The House You Pass on the Way

Prose Non-fiction, Critical, and Theoretical

Chinua Achebe:

  • Hopes and Impediments
  • Home and Exile
  • There Was A Country
  • The Education of a British-Protected Child

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

  • We Should All Be Feminists
  • Dear Ijaewele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

James Baldwin:

  • Notes of a Native Son
  • Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son
  • The Fire Next Time
  • The Price of the Ticket
  • Jimmy’s Blues
  • The Evidence of Things Not Seen
  • No Name in the Street
  • Going to Meet the Man

Octavia E. Butler:

  • Birth of a Writer
  • Devil Girl from Mars: Why I Write Science Fiction
  • A World Without Racism
  • Brave New Worlds: A Few Rules for Predicting the Future

Aimé Césaire:

  • Discourse on Colonialism 

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

  • Between the World and Me

Angela Davis:

  • If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance
  • Women, Race and Class
  • Women, Culture & Politics
  • Are Prisons Obsolete?
  • The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues
  • Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma Rainey”, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday
  • Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire

Frantz Fanon:

  • Black Skin, White Masks
  • The Wretched of the Earth
  • A Dying Colonialism 
  • Toward the African Revolution 

Langston Hughes:

  • Fight For Freedom: The Story of the NAACP
  • I Wonder as I Wander
  • The Big Sea
  • Black Magic

bell hooks:

  • Ain’t I a Woman?: Black women and feminism
  • Feminist theory: From Margin to Center
  • Feminism Is For Everybody
  • Killing Rage: Ending Racism
  • The Will to Change
  • Teaching to Transgress
  • Talking Back: Thinking feminist, thinking Black
  • Salvation: Black people and love
  • Where We Stand: Class Matters

Audre Lorde:

  • Sister Outsider
  • Uses of the Erotic: the erotic as power
  • The Cancer Journals

Toni Morrison:

  • Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
  • The Origin of Others
  • The Source of Self-Regard: Essays, Speeches, Meditations

Alice Walker:

  • In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens: Womanist Prose
  • Warrior Marks
  • Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism
  • Go Girl! The Black Woman’s Book of Travel and Adventure
  • The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult

Poetry

Chinua Achebe:

  • Beware, Soul-Brother, and Other Poems

Raymond Antrobus:

  • To Sweeten Bitter
  • The Perserverance

Jay Bernard:

  • Surge

Maya Angelou:

  • And Still I Rise
  • I Shall Not Be Moved
  • A Brave and Startling Truth
  • Mother: A Cradle to Hold Me

Aimé Césaire:

  • Return to My Native Land
  • Cutthroat Sun
  • Lost Body

Gwendolyn Brooks:

  • In the Mecca: Poems
  • A Street in Bronzeville
  • Annie Allen
  • Riot
  • Beckonings
  • Aurora
  • Aloneness
  • Family Pictures

Langston Hughes:

  • The Weary Blues
  • Dear Lovely Death
  • Shakespeare in Harlem
  • Let America be America Again
  • Jim Crow’s Last Stand
  • Montage of a Dream Deferred
  • The Panther and the Lash
  • Freedom’s Plow

Jackie Kay:

  • The Adoption Papers
  • Off Colour
  • Life Mask
  • Darling: New & Selected Poems

Audre Lorde:

  • the First Cities
  • The Black Unicorn
  • Our Dead Behind Us
  • The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde
  • Cables to Rage
  • From a Land Where Other People Live
  • New York Head Shop and Museum

Claudia Rankine:

  • Citizen: An American Lyric
  • Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric
  • Nothing in Nature is Private

Alice Walker:

  • In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens: Womanist Prose
  • Warrior Marks
  • Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism
  • Go Girl! The Black Woman’s Book of Travel and Adventure
  • The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult