I’ve always loved reading and at secondary school, English literature was one of my favourite subjects.
I went on to study it as an A Level and had I been given adequate careers advice, I probably would have studied it at university.
However, despite studying English Literature for seven years, I only remember reading one book that involved a black character and that was To Kill A Mockingbird.
I was taught that the classic authors included William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë.
Not a single person of colour.
In fact, there were only two books in my school library that included ethnic minority characters.
In the US there was an entire movement of black authors and creatives but I personally heard very little about them and they were non-existent across the UK school curriculum.
So, it was not until I reached adulthood that I discovered that there were classic black authors such as Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston and it felt like I had been left out of a very important conversation.
But even after I realised there was a whole world of black literature that I never knew existed, it still took me a long time to shift the mindset of what was considered a “classic” and make space on my never-ending book list for the highly acclaimed African American authors.
And it is only over recent years that I’ve begun to explore books written by African and Caribbean authors.
11 Resources for Black Book Lovers in the UK
Luckily we now live in a world where we have near instant access to practically any book ever written – not only the classics by the authors mentioned above but also titles by modern day authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Marlon James, Andrea Levy and Malorie Blackman, to name but a few.
We get to read books written by authors from all corners of the globe and define the classics for ourselves.
Here in the UK we now have a seat at the black literary table and the following 11 resources make it easy for us to feast on and enjoy books written for us, by us.
New Beacon Books
An independent London bookshop specialising in works from Caribbean, Black British, African and African American authors.
African Books Collective
A non-profit Oxford-based stockist and distributor of scholarly, literary, art and children’s books from Africa.
A boutique online bookstore bringing you a diverse range of books from across the African Diaspora.
An e-book publishing house that publishes and promotes African literature by African authors.
An independent publisher of fiction, non-fiction and illustrated books, which are ethnically, socially and culturally diverse.
An online bookstore selling books that give a positive profile to children of all backgrounds and that allow all children to see themselves in the stories they read.
Peepal Tree Press
A publisher of the very best of international writing from the Caribbean, its diasporas and the UK.
An online bookshop specialising in an interesting and eclectic mix of multicultural and faith-based books for children and adults.
They also have a shop in Birmingham.
UK based publishers of multicultural fiction and non-fiction children books.
Adonis & Abbey
A UK-based niche publisher specialing in academic and professional books and academic journals written with a focus on Africa.
Black Girls Book Club
A book club specifically for black women based in the UK.
Each month members read a book by an author of colour and then get together for a glamorous brunch and group discussion.
Sunday is World Book Night so take the opportunity to check out some of the resources listed above and get lost in a good book.
And if you’re in London this weekend (21-23 April), you might want to go along to the annual Bare Lit Festival which celebrates the work of remarkable writers in the diaspora. Tickets can be purchased here.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. However, I only recommend products or services I use personally or that I believe will add value to my readers, as well as friends and family. All opinions are my own.