Short Stories by Black Authors

Today is the last day of February, which means Black History Month is ending. But, that doesn’t mean that you should stop reading books by Black authors! It’s so important to me to diversify my reading and seek out authors who offer a new and exciting perspective. If you’re looking for more of that in your own reading, try picking up one of these short story collections written by Black authors. These collections range in genre from fantasy to science fiction to literary fiction so there should be something here for everyone to enjoy! 

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans: A compelling, stylistically complex collection of six short stories and a novella examining race, grief, and apology.

You Made Me Love You: Selected Stories 1981-2018 by John Edgar Wideman: Stunning and powerful, this collection showcases 35 stories from John Edgar Wideman’s long career.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw: The nine short stories in this moving, engaging collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world.

Prayer for the Living by Ben Okri: Engaging, topical, and timely, this collection of short stories blurs the line between the real and the supernatural.

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah: These compelling and surreal stories offer a heartbreakingly satirical look at what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer: A bleak, insightful, darkly humorous collection of short stories that follow young, predominantly African American characters through moments that will make or break them.

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thomspson-Spires: In these boundary-pushing, touching stories, the author illuminates the tensions between Black citizenship and the concept of Black identity in a so-called post-racial era.

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz: These lyrical, haunting intergenerational tales contemplate human connection, race, womanhood, and the darkness in us all.

How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin: A collection of sharply observed, thought-provoking tales spanning science fiction and fantasy.

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor: In this candid, reflective collection of short stories, Taylor introduces a trio of characters who become enmeshed in desire and violence.

Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington: This tender collection of stories with a strong sense of place follows a teenager coming of age in the city of Houston.

Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor: A vibrant, atmospheric, offbeat collection of speculative fiction presenting a variety of takes on the future of Africa.

The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You by Maurice Carlos Ruffin: These amusing, character-driven stories center on the margins and are deeply rooted in the culture of New Orleans.

What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi: An atmospheric, complex collection of fable-like tales loosely linked by a theme of literal and metaphorical keys.

If I Had Two Wings: Stories by Randall Kenan: Collects ten atmospheric, richly detailed stories that chronicle ineffable events in ordinary lives.

What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah: Twelve powerful stories that embrace magical-realist elements while exploring themes of relationships, navigating conflicting cultures, and the struggle to rectify conflicting emotions.

Things Are Good Now by Djamila Ibrahim: Observant and unforgettable stories exploring the scars of violence and the weight of love and guilt on the soul.

Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker: An atmospheric, reflective collection of stories keenly observing Black culture by following characters through life’s “training schools” while they fight to create a vibrant sense of self.

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler: Bleak and spare, this is a thought-provoking collection of novellas and stories by celebrated science fiction author, Octavia Butler.

Grand Union by Zadie Smith: An incisive and witty collection of ten short stories exploring a wide range of subjects from first loves to cultural despair to race, class, and gender roles.

My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson: These accessible, bold, lyrical stories follow characters fighting to survive in America while seeking their place in a world that misunderstands them.

Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston: An arresting, illuminating collection of lesser-known stories by celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston exploring subjects of class, migration, racism, and sexism.

Five-Carat Soul by James McBride: Presents a collection of insightful and unpredictable stories that explore the ways people learn from the world and the people around them.

The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosley: A masterful collection offering both simple and complex portraits of Black men in varying life circumstances.

The World Doesn’t Require You by Rion Amilcar Scott: Darkly humorous and offbeat, these linked stories imagine an all-Black town called Cross River, peopled by descendants of the only successful slave revolt in U.S. history.

What was your favorite read in February? Did you discover any new authors you loved? Tell me in the comments!

Published by Kristi

Hi there! I am Kristi, a book obsessed human with strong opinions. Join me as I read across genres and do the work to find you the best of the best books.

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