Last year was quite the year of books by writers of color. Book releases highlighted an important part of the year and we could not get enough. From Akwaeke Emezi’s groundbreaking debut Freshwater, to Tsitsi Damgarembga’s important story that knitted race, gender and class into the compelling book that was This Mournable Body, we witness the rise of great works by writers of color. For the coup de Grace, Michelle Obama’s blockbuster memoir, Becoming broke the charts by being the bestselling book of 2018 by amassing over 2,000,000 sales in the first 15 days from its official release date.
2019 is pregnant with many much-anticipated books by notable black authors too! Five of such anticipated births in the coming months include:
1. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James (Hamish Hamilton)
This much-anticipated 2019 book has been tagged the “African Game of Thrones.” (roll my eyes. Africans are so extra!). We know what the Man Booker Prize-winning author can do, and being the first in James Marlon’s Dark Star trilogy, we can’t wait to see how he will fuse myth, history and fantasy to full effect. The beginning of the novel, “The child is dead. There is nothing left to know…” is all shades of ice and fire, all puns intended! We are counting time!
2. Gingerbread, by Helen Oyeyemi (Picador, Riverhead Books)
Did you love Boy, Snow, Bird? It’s been quite a while we last heard from Helen, so you can see why we cannot wait for her forthcoming 2019 book, Gingerbread. In Gingerbread, Oyeyemi draws from the snack’s hallowed place in folklore to create a startling story of inheritance. We know what Oyeyemi does with prose, and with a release date of March 7, 2019, March cannot come any sooner.
3. An Orchestra of Minorities, by Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown)
While we might have had our divided opinions about Chigozie Obioma’s Etizalat Prize-winning and Man Booker shortlisted debut, The Fishermen, it would be dishonest for us to say that we are not looking forward to Obioma’s forthcoming 2019 book. We hope his sophomore book finally rights the missteps of his previous book and does us good. Named as the true heir to Chinua Achebe by the New York Times Book Review (no shade to others who claim this title), his book is said to weave a “heart-wrenching epic about the tension between destiny and determination.” You can read an excerpt here.
4. Manchester Happened, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
If you, like me, left gasping after the last page of Kintu, yelled for joy when news of the Let’s Tell this Story Properly storyteller’s collection was announced, Manchester Happened’s expected release should have all of us gathering for an e-hug. We have waited for so long for another body of work from our favorite Ugandan writer. Set in Manchester and Kampala, “these stories form a moving and powerful work about the experience of immigration and about how we treat each other as human beings, and makes an important contribution to one of the most pressing societal and political issues of the day” (Bloomsbury).
Oh Jennifer! When will you grace the Syncity NG LLL show so I can e-hug from now till next year?
5. Children of Virtue and Vengeance
Following the events of Children of Blood and Bone, in spite of the overwhelming odds, Zélie and Amari have succeeded in bringing magic back to Orisha. But we are told that the ritual has its consequences, being far more power that they imagined it to be. The enemy is more powerful than they thought, and with a Civil war looming, Zélie has to find a way to avert chaos or risk Orisha’s implosion.
Synners, Did I miss anyone? Please SHARE this post and then let’s talk. What 2019 book by writers of color are you most excited about?