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Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the world and me

Between the world and me is a letter from a father to his son about living in the United States of America in a Black man’s body. There are moments in this book where the beauty of Coates’ prose is quite breath-taking, and the whole is sustained by an intellectual rigour that allows it to shine all the better

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Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Friday Black

Friday Black is the acclaimed first collection of short stories by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. He has a knack for locating the horror already existing in the everyday and drawing it to chilling yet strangely logical conclusions.

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Colson Whitehead
Harlem Shuffle

Breaking with the much-needed, but often painful plunges into US history of the author’s previous novels, the portrayal of the Harlem Shuffle, and the reading experience as a whole are – as intended by the author – predominantly light-hearted and entertaining. It is a heist novel set in 1960s Harlem.

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Louise Erdrich
The Night Watchman

When I start reading very thick books – The Nightwatchman with its nearly 500 pages is one of those – I’m often skeptical whether such bulk is really necessary. But I simply devoured this book in two days.

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Audre Lorde
Sister Outsider

Sister Outsider by African-American, lesbian, feminist poet and activist Audre Lorde is a foundational text for anyone interested in intersectionality and reflecting on their own social positions.

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Audre Lorde
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

Audre Lorde’s biomythography Zami: A New Spelling of My Name relates this iconic writer’s personal, poetic, political and sexual coming-of-age. Lorde was a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and this recording of her early life is a powerful piece of writing. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in the lived experiences of intersectional marginalisation, as told by one of the most strident and talented voices to talk about these realities.

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Jhumpa Lahiri
The Namesake

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut novel tells the story of the Ganguli family: Ashoke and Ashima, originally from Bengal, migrate to the North-eastern United States in the 1960s. They have two children there, and the novel follows the experiences of their firstborn son. It’s a novel about living in between places, cultures and assigned identities.

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Colson Whitehead
The Nickel Boys

In a grazing pasture on the North side of what was once the campus of the Nickel Academy for Boys, an archaeology student from the University of Florida stumbles across a field of bones: unmarked graves. She and her cohort are there to excavate the official graveyard of the school before the lands are developed into an office park. The small bones in the known cemetery are already suspiciously often fractured, suggesting breaks and injuries before death: what history of abuses does the field of unmarked bones testify to? Thus begins Colson Whitehead’s prizewinning novel The Nickel Boys.

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