10 Black Women Writers You Should Read Right Now
The ZORA Canon, our first-of-its-kind list of the 100 most important books written by Black American women, celebrates established literary giants. To shine a light on the next generation of greats, we asked a few of our contributors and columnists — Feminista Jones, L’Oreal Thompson Payton, Erika Stallings, and Danielle Jackson — to point us toward the writers whose literary futures they believe are shining most brightly. Here are their selections.
Anoa Changa, an Atlanta-based attorney and political analyst, has written on topics ranging from the challenges of being an activist to voter suppression in Georgia to the 2020 presidential nominees.
Recommended reading: “Georgia’s Voting Machine ‘Reform’ Is a Threat to Free and Fair Elections”
Andie J. Christopher is a USA Today bestselling author of romance novels, including Not the Girl You Marry, Not That Kind of Guy, the “One Night in South Beach” series, and Full Contact.
Recommended reading: “#MeToo Has Forced Me to Admit I’m a Romance Novelist Who’s Having Bad Sex”
Taylor Crumpton advocates for abortion rights and reproductive justice. She’s written for Teen Vogue, the Guardian, Pitchfork, Marie Claire, and Glamour, among many others.
Recommended reading: “Black Women Are Still the Moral Compass of United States Politics”
Jamey Hatley, who is based in Memphis, Tennessee, was a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts prose fellow and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award winner that same year.
Recommended reading: “The Drummer”
Amanda Joy authored the critically acclaimed young adult novel A River of Royal Blood.
Recommended reading: A River of Royal Blood
Angela Peoples is an organizer, political strategist, and activist who has been advocating for progressive reforms since 2006. If you remember the iconic image of the “Don’t Forget: White Women Voted for Trump” sign at the Women’s March on Washington in 2017, that was her work.
Recommended reading: “Don’t Just Thank Black Women. Follow Us.”
Kiley Reid received the prestigious Truman Capote Fellowship from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her debut novel, Such a Fun Age, was released in December 2019.
Recommended reading: “The Moon Instead”
Diamond Sharp is a former Rookie editor and Wellesley alumna whose debut poetry collection, Super Sad Black Girl, is forthcoming from Haymarket Books.
Recommended reading: “Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ Is an Anthem for the Retribution of Black Women”
Nafissa Thompson Spires’ 2018 debut short-story collection, Heads of the Colored People, an investigation of a “post-racial era,” made a splash in the literary world. She is currently a professor in the African American Studies Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Recommended reading: “On No Longer Being a Hysterical Woman”
Adia Victoria is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter and poet who, as NPR noted, “captures the spirit of the blues.”
Recommended viewing: “liner notes blues”