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

Leila Aboulela:

  • The Kindness of Enemies
  • Minaret
  • Elsewhere, Home
  • Bird, Summons
  • The Translator
  • Coloured Lights
  • Lyrics Alley

Chinua Achebe:

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

Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie: 

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

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

Kacen Callender:

  • This is Kind of an Epic Love Story
  • King and the Dragonflies 
  • Hurricane Child 
  • Felix Ever After 

Islands of Blood and Storm Series

  • Queen of the Conquered 
  • King of the Rising 

Dane Figueroa Edidi:

  • Yemaya’s Daughters

The Ghetto Goddess Series

  • Brew: A Novel
  • Keeper: A Novel

The C. Muhammad Series

  • Wither: A Novella
  • Bone: A Novella

Akwaeke Emezi:

  • Freshwater
  • Pet
  • The Death of Vivek Oji

Khaled Hosseini:

  • The Kite Runner
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • And the Mountains Echoed
  • Sea Prayer

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

Laila Lalami:

  • The Moor’s Account
  • The Other Americans
  • Secret Son
  • Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Nadifa Mohamed:

  • Black Mamba Boy
  • The Orchard of Lost Souls

Toni Morrison:

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

Tayeb Salih:

  • Season of Migration to the North
  • The Wedding of Zein

Rivers Solomon:

  • Unkindness of Ghosts
  • The Deep

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

Leila Ahmed:

  • A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America
  • Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate
  • Between Two Worlds: The Formation of a Turn-of-the-Century Egyptian Feminist
  • Arab Women: 1995
  • Feminism, Theory and Politics
  • A Border Passage: From Cairo to America

Kecia Ali:

  • Islam: The Key Concepts
  • The Lives of Muhammad
  • Imam Shafi’i: Scholar and Saint
  • Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence

Cameron Awkward-Rich:

  • ‘“She of the Pants and No Voice”: Jack Bee Garland’s Disability Drag’ in Transgender Studies Quarterly
  • ’Thinking Black [Trans] Gender’ in American Quarterly
  • ‘Trans, Feminism or Reading Like a Depressed Transsexual’ in Signs: Journal of Woman in Culture and Society 
  • ‘The Fiction of Ethnography in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland’ in Science Fiction Studies

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

The Lady Chablis:

  • Hiding My Candy: The Autobiography of the Grand Empress of Savannah

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

Julius Kaggwa:

  • From Juliet to Julius

Rashid Khalidi:

  • Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness
  • The Origins of Arab Nationalism
  • Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America’s Perilous Path in the Middle East
  • Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East
  • British Policy towards Syria and Palestine
  • Under Siege: PLO Decision-making during the 1982 War
  • The Hundred Years War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance
  • Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East
  • The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood\

Audre Lorde:

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

Amina Mama:

  • National Machinery for Women in Africa: Towards an analysis
  • The Hidden Struggle: Statutory and Voluntary Sector Responses to Violence Against Black Women in the Home
  • ‘Black Women and the Police: A Place Where the Law is Not Upheld’, in Inside Babylon
  • Beyond the Masks: Race, Gender, and Subjectivity
  • ‘Is It Ethical to Study Africa? Preliminary Thoughts on Scholarship and Freedom’ in African Studies Review

Saba Mahmood:

  • The Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject
  • Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech
  • Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report

Janet Mock:

  • Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
  • Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me 

Toni Morrison:

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

Toni Newman:

  • Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman

C. Riley Snorton:

  • Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
  • ‘”A New Hope”: The Psychic Life of Passing’ in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 
  • ‘Gender Trouble on Triton’ in No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies
  • ‘Gender. Keywords’ in African American Studies
  • ‘Trapped in the Epistemological Closet: Black Sexuality and the ‘Ghettocentric Imagination’ in  Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society
  • ‘On the Question of “Who’s Out in Hip Hop”’ in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society 
  • ‘Trans Necropolitics: A Transnational Reflection on Violence, Death, and the Trans of Color Afterlife’ co-authored with Jin Haritaworn in Transgender Studies Reader
  • ‘An Ambiguous Heterotopia: On the Past of Black Studies’ Futures’ in The Black Scholar

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

Tenika Watson:

  • My Life is No Accident

J Mase III:

  • And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment & Inappropriate Jokes About Death


Chinua Achebe:

  • Beware, Soul-Brother, and Other Poems

Travis Alabanza:

  • Before I Step Outside [You Love Me]

Raymond Antrobus:

  • To Sweeten Bitter
  • The Perserverance

Maya Angelou:

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

Fatima Asghar:

  • If They Come For Us
  • After

Samiya Bashir:

  • Where the Apple Falls: Poems
  • Gospel: Poems
  • Field Theories

Jay Bernard:

  • Surge 
  • English Breakfast 
  • The Red and Yellow Nothing 
  • Other Ubiquities
  • Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl 

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

jay dodd:

  • The Black Condition ft. Narcissus

Tarfia Faizullah:

  • Seam
  • Registers of Illuminated Villages

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

Andrea Jenkins:

  • tributaries: poems celebrating black history
  • Pieces of a Scream 
  • The T is Not Silent

Jackie Kay:

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

Rickey Laurentiis:

  • Boy with Thorn
  • Prime
  • Whipped

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

Ladan Osman:

  • The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony
  • Exiles of Eden

Claudia Rankine:

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

Cameron Awkward-Rich:

  • Dispatch
  • Sympathetic Little Monsters
  • Transit 

Jalal al-Din Rumi:

  • The Essential Rumi

Warsan Shire:

  • Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
  • Lemonade: A Visual Album by Beyoncé
  • Her Blue Body

Danez Smith:

  • Don’t Call Us Dead
  • [insert] Boy 
  • Homie
  • hands on your knees
  • Black movie

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

J Mase III:

  • White Folks Be Trippin’
  • The Black Trans Prayer Book

Comics/Graphic Novels

Vita Ayala:

  • The Wilds
  • Morbius
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Road Warrior
  • Submerged Vol. 1
  • Dead Beats
  • Bitch Planet

Livewire Series

  • Livewire
  • Livewire Volume 1: Fugitive
  • Livewire Volume 2: Guardian
  • Livewire Volume 3: Champion

(Ayala’s bibliography is so incredibly vast. We recommend you check out all of their work (including that with DC and Marvel here: )