Diversity enriches the reading experience. Today’s post is dedicated to black fantasy authors who have published their books recently or have books coming out in 2020.
If you have similar authors or book recommendations, please leave a comment.
Namina Forna has a MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. She now works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads. THE GILDED ONES is her debut novel.
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can fin
ally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
Writing was her first love, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to use the power of writing–creative and otherwise–to connect the different cultures she called home.
She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and was also a teaching assistant for the school’s Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House program. Her journalistic work has been featured by Voice of America among other outlets.
On the publishing side of things, she has worked as an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing. Rosie was a 2017 Pitch Wars mentee and 2018 Pitch Wars mentor.
Never content to stay in any one place for too long, Rosie currently lives near Washington D.C., where in her free time she can usually be found singing to her dog, explaining memes to her elderly relatives, or thinking about Star Wars.
The first in a fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran.
But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
When she’s not building worlds and getting lost in her own fantasies, she’s probably dancing to random music or watching (yet another) Korean drama. In addition to her native language, she speaks Spanish and Catalan almost fluently, some French, and would love to learn Korean.
Jashi Anyua has been arranged to be married to the leader of her nation, the Great Faresh. To help her escape her engagement, her future husband’s enemies offer her an out; become their spy and they’ll give her a new name and identity somewhere the Faresh will never find her.
But Jashi gets to know the Faresh, she starts to wonder if she put her loyalties in the right place. Even more so when she realizes that the Faresh shares the abilities she’s had to keep secret her whole life, and he might be the only one that can train her to use them.
Her adult debut, MEM, was an ABA 2018 Indies Introduce pick, and a June Indie Next pick, and was featured/reviewed in: Locus Magazine, the LA Times, Buzzfeed, Book Riot, Bustle, and Tor.com, among others.
She was editor and contributor to TAKE THE MIC: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance, which released with AAL/Scholastic in October 2019.
Bethany’s YA debut, A SONG BELOW WATER is a contemporary fantasy, and releases in June 2020.
Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community.
Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.
Patrice Caldwell is a graduate of Wellesley College and the founder & fundraising chair of People of Color in Publishing–a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members of the book publishing industry.
Born and raised in Texas, Patrice was a children’s book editor before shifting to being a literary agent at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.
In 2018, she was named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree and featured on The Writer’s Digest podcast and Bustle’s inaugural “Lit List” as one of ten women changing the book world.
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals.
A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between.
Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.
Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.
Orbit Books re-released it and signed Winter to a four-book deal.
CBC Books listed Winter’s 2020 novel The Fires of Vengeance on its list of Canadian fiction to watch for in 2020.
Born in England to South American parents, Evan Winter was raised in Africa near the historical territory of his Xhosa ancestors.
Evan has always loved fantasy novels, but when his son was born, he realized that there weren’t many epic fantasy novels featuring characters who looked like him. So, before he ran out of time, he started writing them.
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted.
One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance.
Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.
Tau and his Queen, desperate to delay the impending attack on the capital by the indigenous people of Xidda, craft a dangerous plan.
If Tau succeeds, the Queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.
If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne, and if she can reunite her people then the Omehi have a chance to survive the onslaught.
Maya Motayne decided to be a writer when she was four years old and hasn’t stopped writing since. She lives in New York City where she pursues her passions of petting as many dogs as possible and buying purses based on whether or not they can fit a big book in them. Nocturna is her first novel.
To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.
As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.
After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.
But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.
After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is travelling and revelling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio.
That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime families. Now one of the four Thief Lords of Castallan, she’s forced to preside over the illegal underground Oculta competition, which coincides with the summit and boasts a legendary prize.
Just when Finn finds herself back in San Cristobal, Alfie’s plans are also derailed. Los Toros, the mysterious syndicate responsible for his brother’s murder, has resurfaced—and their newest target is the summit. And when these events all unexpectedly converge, Finn and Alfie are once again forced to work together to follow the assassins’ trail and preserve Castallan’s hopes for peace with Englass.
But will they be able to stop these sinister foes before a new war threatens their kingdom?
You can find her in Chicago, taking pictures of her ever-expanding library and touring the city’s best coffee shops. Her debut young adult fantasy novel, A River of Royal Blood, was published in 2019.
Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre.
Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition.
Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.
When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead.
As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.
A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.
Akwaeke Emezi is a writer and visual artist based in liminal spaces. A 2018 National Book Foundation ‘5 Under 35’ honoree, Emezi’s sophomore adult novel, THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books on August 4, 2020, and is available for pre-order now.
Their debut YA novel PET (Make Me a World/Random House Children’s Books) was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and a Lambda Literary Award, as well as an Indie Next selection.
Praised in The New York Times, it received a Stonewall Honor, a Walter Honor, and an Otherwise Award Honor after debuting with five starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Bookpage, and Bulletin. PET was also named a 2019 Best Book of the Year by School Library Journal, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Apple, and Amazon, among others.
There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life.
But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told.
Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question-How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?
In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices a young person can make when the adults around them are in denial.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Dhonielle spent much of her childhood hiding beneath her grandmother’s dining table with a stack of books. As an English teacher at a ballet academy, Clayton rediscovered her passion for children’s and young adult literature.
To ground herself in the canon, she pursued her Masters in Children’s Literature from Hollins University before receiving her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. She is a former middle school librarian, where she pestered children to read and curated a diverse collection.
An avid traveler, Dhonielle’s lived in several foreign countries, but she’s now settled in Harlem, where you’ll find her writing late into the night, lurking in libraries, and hunting for the best slice of New York pizza.
She is the COO of We Need Diverse Books and the co-founder of Cake Literary. The co-author of the dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces, as well as the upcoming Rumor Game, Dhonielle is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA fantasy series The Belles.
In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.
But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land.
But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined.
And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.
With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached.
After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil.
When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
Her novels include TRAIL OF LIGHTNING, STORM OF LOCUSTS, STAR WARS: RESISTANCE REBORN, and RACE TO THE SUN. Her upcoming novel BLACK SUN is set to release 10/13/2020.
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger.
Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.
Ella Clarke, human resource professional, and Christian motivational speaker has always had a passion for writing and storytelling. Coupled with an inquisitive mind and the need to question tradition, Ella penned The Guardian Odyssey.
Through vivid imagery and prose, the world of Kendi Belling and his home, Empyrean, come to life, as she spins a tale of battle, revenge, heartbreak, and love and loss. Ella lives in North Carolina with her husband and four children.
Guardian angels were created to protect the human race, but Kendi was never one to simply bow down to authority. Where’s the fun in that? He enjoys being the Guardian gone rogue until he learns that rebellion comes with a price.
In Reborn, Kendi begins his journey of reconciliation, hoping to find redemption for his past. He is challenged by a beautiful young woman who shatters every preconceived notion that he has had about the human race but can he learn to love or will it be the lake of fire?
Read the review of Reborn, by Ella Clarke.
After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time.
Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.
An original, upper-middle-grade series starring the break-out character from the Black Panther comics and films: T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri!
Crafted by New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone. Shuri is a skilled martial artist, a genius, and a master of science and technology. But, she’s also a teenager. And a princess. This story follows Shuri as she sets out on a quest to save her homeland of Wakanda.
For centuries, the Chieftain of Wakanda (the Black Panther) has gained his powers through the juices of the Heart-Shaped Herb. Much like Vibranium, the Heart-Shaped Herb is essential to the survival and prosperity of Wakanda. But something is wrong. The plants are dying.
No matter what the people of Wakanda do, they can’t save them. And their supply is running short. It’s up to Shuri to travel from Wakanda in order to discover what is killing the Herb, and how she can save it, in the first volume of this all-new, original adventure.
Echo Brown is a visionary storyteller who creates and performs inspiring one woman shows. Her first solo show, Black Virgins Are Not for Hipsters, ran for two years to sold out crowds in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Chicago, Cleveland, Berlin, Germany, and Dublin, Ireland.
She has just finished her first book entitled, Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard, which will be published through Macmillan Publishing House in January 2020.
Echo regularly teaches workshops and gives talks at places like Facebook, Google, & Dropbox. She has also given 2 Tedx talks.
Echo is currently based in Paris, France and is represented by Heather Karpas (literary works), Ross Weiner (theater works), and Lia Chan (film & tv rights) at ICM.
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor.
Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you.
Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.
Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age.
Writing has always been a hobby and a cathartic experience for me. Turning my passion for telling stories into a career as an Author has been one of my significant accomplishments. Since 2016, I’ve been constantly educating myself with new ideas and challenging myself to improve my writing techniques and develop a unique writing style in order to provide the most immersive experience to my readers.
I love learning more about my readers and would love to hear more about yourself, your tastes, and any ideas you may have for my future projects.
“Let the Lightning Engulf you”
15-year-old Alexander Charon embarks on his journey at a new school as he struggles to form bonds and relationships with those around him. He begins to unravel his hidden talents, forcing his life to take an unexpected turn as he witnesses the murder and kidnapping of his friends. He must use his newly found skills to solve mysteries and protect those he cares for before it’s too late. Can Alex rise up as he attempts to persevere against adversities? Or will he fall into despair as hope dwindles with each new obstacle?
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