7 Black Women Writers You Should Read

1. Angie Thomas

September 20, 1988-

American author Angie Thomas is a current YA fiction author most known for her 2017 debut novel “The Hate U Give.” Her works focus on activism, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement and other issues faced by Black teens in America today. “The Hate U Give” was adapted as a feature film starring Amandla Stenberg in 2018. Thomas released her second novel, “On The Come Up”, in 2019 and is currently writing her third book. 



"What's the point of having a voice if you're going to be silent when you shouldn't be?" 📚 . . . ⇢ 🅠🅞🅣🅓 What's a book that you find really empowering? 📖 . . . ⇢ 🅐🅞🅣🅓 I don't exactly load on the feminism reads despite being a definite feminist myself (they tend to be white feminism centred and that stuff is pretty nASTY) so I like to find empowerment in particularly ruthless characters, like Rin from the Poppy War 💫 I also like the Lunar Chronicles and ACOTAR for the strong theme of feminine strength and capability 💕 . . . . . . ⇢ 🅣🅐🅖🅢 #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #books #bookphotos #aussiebookstagrammer #bookworm #bibliophile #ausbookfeatures #teenreader #bookdragon #reader #readaholic #reading #shelves #pages #aesthetic #bookaesthetic #angiethomas #thehateugive #onthecomeup

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2. Toni Morrison

February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019

Arguably one of the most iconic names in modern American literature, Toni Morrison is the author of 11 full-length fiction novels, along with dozens of other works across genres including children’s books and plays. She is the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature, a Pulitzer Prize, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. Her works brought the experiences of Black Americans, particularly women, to the forefront of literary conversation. 

3. Warsan Shire

August 1, 1988-

Warsan Shire is a British poet who writes primarily about the issues of refugees and marginalized people. Born to Somalian parents in Kenya, Shire migrated to the UK with her family when she was just one year old. She won Brunel University inaugural African Poetry Prize as well as being the first Young Poet Laureate for London in 2013. She has published one full-length collection, as well as being featured in several other works, including Beyonce’s Lemonade visual album. 



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4. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

15 September 1977-

If you were at Mason last semester, you might remember “We Should All Be Feminists” as the official Mason Reads selection. Adichie spoke about “We Should All Be Feminists” at Mason’s Fairfax campus. 

What you might now know is that the author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a total badass. Originally from Enugu, Nigeria, Adichie moved to the US when she was 19. In addition to “We Should All Be Feminists”, Adichie has published four full-length novels, another book-length essay, and three short stories. She holds a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and an M.A. from Yale, as well as being the recipient of a MacArthur Grant. Her work addresses issues of race and culture. 



”We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”⠀ ⠀ __________________⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ”We teach girls shame. “Close your legs. Cover yourself.” We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.”⠀ ⠀ __________________⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ”We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likable. We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.”⠀ ⠀ _________________⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 🎶 Beyoncé - ***Flawless

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5. Tsitsi Dangarembga

February 4, 1959-

Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga is best known for her 1988 debut novel, “Nervous Conditions.” Named as one of the BBC’s top 100 books that have changed the world in 2018, “Nervous Conditions” is partially autobiographical and discusses gender and colonialism set in post-colonial Rhodesia. Dangarembga was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1989. In addition to “Nervous Conditions”, she has written several fiction novels, plays, and is heavily involved in the film industry. 



NERVOUS CONDITIONS by Zimbabwe born writer Tsitsi Dangarembga is her brilliant debut novel published by Seal Press in 1988, it is both a moving story of a girl’s coming of age and a compelling narrative of the devastating human loss involved in the colonization of one culture by another. Alice Walker describes it as - “that rare novel whose characters are unforgettable. Tambu and Nyasha, it’s most fascinating pair, are women on the threshold of understanding almost too much about the bitter reality of women’s lives in modern Africa. Yet, they persist in their determination to be both free Africans and free women in a patriarchal society that is decidedly unhappy with this commendable daring. Sardonic, coolly observant, splendidly detached from every form of chauvinistic nonsense. Nervous Conditions introduces quite a new voice that, in its self assurance, sounds, at times, very old. As if the African sisters, mothers and cousins of antiquity were, at last, beginning to reassert themselves in these perilous times, and to speak. It is an expression of liberation not to be missed.” #freeblackwoman #freeblackwomenslibrary

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6. Maya Angelou

April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

You’ve probably had to do an analysis of a Maya Angelou poem for an English class and didn’t appreciate it as much as you should have. Don’t worry, I’m in the same boat. 

Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and activist who is credited with over 50 years of works including seven autobiographies, several poetry books, and three essay collections, along with involvement in plays, movies, and TV shows. Her first autobiography “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” (1969) received international acclaim and is perhaps her most well-known work. Angelou is well-decorated — three Grammys, over fifty honorary degrees, a National Arts Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are just a small selection. 

7. Alice Walker

February 9, 1944-

American author Alice Walker is best known for her fiction novel, “The Color Purple”. Published in 1982, “The Color Purple” garnered Walker a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and a National Book Award for hardcover fiction. It has also been adapted into a film and a musical. She has written dozens of novels, short stories, poetry collections, and non-fiction books. Her work tackles issues including civil rights and feminism. Walker coined the term “womanism”, which refers to a black feminist or feminist of color. 

Happy reading and happy Black History Month collegiettes!