Books are so important. They can give you new and different perspectives on the world. And in honour of Black History Month, we’ve compiled a list of must-reads by brilliant authors.
Get ready to take out your bookmarks! Because we’ve gathered some influential novels by Black women, you’re absolutely going to love. We’ll also introduce the authors.
Let’s get into the list:
Jamaica Kincaid is an American-Antiguan writer. She moved from Antigua to New York when she was 16. Her work is mostly anti-colonial. It explores the impacts of colonisation in Antigua.
Annie John is a coming of age novel by Caribbean author Jamaica Kincaid.
It takes place in post-colonial Antigua. And it follows the main character, Annie, as she navigates her relationship with her mother. As she goes through schooling in particular, she grapples with harmful eurocentric norms.
This novel explores the tensions between the overbearing European influence. Which opposes Annie’s journey towards becoming her own person outside of how people try to shape her.
Another Kincaid novel, this particular piece travel-writing discusses the evils and exploitation of tourism.
It is a powerfully written anti-colonial piece. Kincaid uncovers her complex perception of Antigua as a post-colonial place. From her perspective, she covers how Antiguans are exploited by being made a part of the hospitality industry. This is an essential read for any tourist.
Many people do not realise the potential evils of tourism in an increasingly globalised world. Kincaid unveils the hidden impacts and implications underlying tourism.
Toni Morrison is an American author. She was born in Ohio as Chloe Anthony Wofford Morrison in 1931. Her influential works are what she is most known for. But she was also a professor and book editor. She passed away recently last year in August.
Morrison’s novel is highly impactful.
The Bluest Eye is emotionally charged. It highlights the harmful ways that eurocentric norms affect the characters. It shows how ingrained racial discrimination is. Because of this, some of the characters even discriminate against each other.
Pecola- the character that the novel centres on- gets impacted the most by trying to attain unrealistic beauty standards. The Bluest Eye looks at the ways that white beauty standards threaten to stand in the way of self-love. This novel is a call for acceptance. And it reveals the harm that society circulates by not being more accepting of appearances.
Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston was an American anthropologist and writer. She was a primary figure during the Harlem Renaissance. Her works are important because they describe and show racial conflicts.
Zora Neale Hurston’s novel centres on the independent Janie. Hurston actually wrote this powerful book in only 7 weeks.
It is a tale about women’s empowerment. Janie grapples with severe setbacks of several kinds. She deals with ageism, racism, and sexism on her journey towards becoming a self-governing woman who doesn’t need a man.
Janie first must marry an old man- even though she wants to be independent. Eventually, she makes more independent choices. And after her journey towards independence, Janie shares her life experience with her friends. This novel is both political and feminist. Janie’s personal experience shows a combination of different forms of discrimination. Janie’s experiences are still relevant today.
These books are so inspirational and a great representation of Black History Month. If you’re interested in finding more exciting reads, check out these New Release Books for 2020.