Best Fiction Books Written by BIPOC Women in 2020

Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Zora Neale Hurston among so many others have set the stage for outstanding BIPOC women writers of today. So which amazing fiction writers are continuing their legacy of literary excellence? 

For the best fiction books written by BIPOC women in 2020, look no further. Here are a few recommendations to get you started.

Black Brother, Black Brother

Image Source: http://jewellparkerrhodes.com/children/books/black-brother-black-brother/

Two brothers’ lives can veer in opposite directions when one is white-passing while the other’s darker skin earns him the nickname “Black Brother.”

Straight from Luminary Stephen Curry’s bookshelf, Black Brother, Black Brother examines the complexities of sibling relationships, the tense hierarchies of the teenage social scene, and how institutionalized racism can impact a child’s life day-to-day and for the long term. Social justice, a recurring theme amongst Stephen Curry’s Literati Book Club selections, is at the core of this novel as we see how a broken system often can destroy the lives of young Black boys. 

Jewell Parker Rhodes compels readers with her storytelling and invites them to participate in purposeful conversations in regards to racism, bullying, and mass incarceration. 

The Night Watchman 

Image Source: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-night-watchman-louise-erdrich?variant=32151036723234

Love, impoverishment, disillusionment, and ambition all find space to coexist within the Turtle Mountain Reservation of North Dakota. The novel follows various points of views including those of a bright young girl named Patrice, and Thomas, a character inspired by author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather. Readers will love following the stories of these memorable characters as they face obstacles with wit, love, and undeniable strength. 

Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, has dedicated her career to amplifying Native American voices, and the stories of The Night Watchmen are perhaps amongst the loudest of them all. Keep an eye on this exceptional author—she hasn’t finished making her mark in the literary world just yet. 

Fifty Words for Rain 

Image Source: https://www.amazon.com/Fifty-Words-Rain-Asha-Lemmie/dp/1524746363

Fifty Words for Rain, featured in Malala’s Literati Book Club, has captured the imaginations of readers everywhere. 

The book follows Nori, a child of an affair with an African American GI and a married Japanese noblewoman. Nori is shamed and ostracized by her aristocratic family who would prefer to keep her a secret. Asha Lemmie earns New York Times Bestseller status for her gripping depiction of the complexity of family ties, and of a young woman’s pursuit of identity and strength. 

Clap When You Land 

Image Source: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/clap-when-you-land-elizabeth-acevedo?variant=32207530557474

Elizabeth Acevedo is a forceful female voice to be reckoned with. In Clap When You Land, Acevedo tells the story of two sisters, one in New York and the other in the Dominican Republic. Camino and Yahaira are both unaware of the other’s existence until a plane crash takes their father’s life.  

Deep-seated family secrets and the challenging nature of forgiveness are two of the central themes that draw readers in. The sisters seem to sing their stories to us in this novel-in-verse as we are transported, perhaps, to a familiar place of grief and unconditional love. 

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These authors have created unforgettable characters, gripping plots, and narrative styles that will leave their mark on every reader. Infusing each page with their lived experiences as well as their undeniable craftsmanship, these BIPOC women authors are essential to every book shelf. 

For more voices like these, check out Literati’s Luminary book clubs! Each month, you can enjoy a book selected by Luminaries like Malala Yousafzai, Susan Orleans, Stephen Curry, and more! You’ll also get access to exclusive author interviews, a vibrant online reading community, and reading guides just for our Literatis.

Books allow us to immerse ourselves in different perspectives, different lives, and really, entirely different worlds. Give yourself the gift of a new world every month with Literati.

Sources: 

NPR. Tragedy Reveals 2 Secret Families In ‘Clap When You Land’. https://www.npr.org/2020/05/10/853415104/author-elizabeth-acevedo-on-her-new-novel-clap-when-you-land

Harper Collins Publishers. The Night Watchman. https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-night-watchman-louise-erdrich?variant=32151036723234

Penguin Random House. Fifty Words for Rain. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/623487/fifty-words-for-rain-by-asha-lemmie/

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