12 Published Bestselling Books from Black Authors

Famous Black Authors
Before you continue, please know that this page has affiliate links and we'll get paid if you buy anything after clicking a link. Our recommendations are based on research from reddit, Quora, Amazon, and sometimes real-world usage if the item isn't crazy expensive.

These are popular fiction and nonfiction books by popular black authors. These books are bestsellers in their categories. Additionally, our booklist has books published by black authors from a newer generation.

The books listed below have hundreds of positive reviews with mostly positive feedback. You’ll find great books from Samantha Irby, Jessica B. Harris, James Baldwin, and more.

1. We Are Never Meeting In Real Life

Samantha Irby’s We Are Never Meeting In Real Life is like a dramatic comedy in written form as she talks about her frustrating childhood to her current adulting hardships. This black book covers her funny sexual encounters, evolving friendships, and her expectancy of unavoidable truths. Overall this will be a fun read as Irby is one of the most popular and famous black authors of our generation as she perfectly blends comedy and literature.

2. This Is Just My Face

Gabourey Sidibe has always been a favorite of mine, ever since she shared the big screen with Monique in that sad movie years ago. Gabourey’s This Is Just My Face is another one of those great black books, Gabourey talks about growing up in Harlem with her gifted mom and polygamous dad. This book starts with her first job as a phone sex operator to the start of her international fame. She may not be on the best African-American writers list yet… but if she keeps it up she will cut. Ever since the movie Precious, Gabourey has been a favorite of ours so we can’t wait for her next book.

3. Awkward Thoughts

We had to get W. Kamau Bell on this list filled with African-American writers. This book is great for everyone, especially new dads. Mr. Bell talks about many serious issues in his Awkward Thoughts book. He goes has opinions on the joys of fatherhood, law enforcement, and politics. The lighter side of this book discusses comedians, superheroes, and his interracial marriage. This read will be a great look from a black nerd.

4. The Color of Law

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein talks housing policy history of the American metropolis. This book discusses prejudices, income differences, and the rise of private institutions. The Color of Law makes it clear that segregation is influenced by the law.

5. My Soul Looks Back

My Soul Looks Back is a memoir from Jessica B. Harris, this book is about the fascinating life of growing up in Manhattan in the 70s. She talks about being part of a creative circle with James Baldwin traveling to many countries to being called a bitch by Nina Simone. This book was recommended by a friend on Facebook.

6. An American Marriage

African-American writers that make it to Oprah’s Book Club list usually sell out within hours. Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage tackles racial injustice, death, failure, and expectations. Based on the reviews, this book will have you begging for a follow-up book as well as a TV series.

7. Kindred

This is an amazing novel that was written concerning the black female protagonist. It brings out an accurate picture of the era of slavery. It is designed for a white society with the male population dominating alongside science and speculative fiction.

8. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

This is a book that speaks about disappearing and having a feeling that you lost but then again wanting so much to be seen and to be understood. The writer is a New York Times bestseller. She identifies deeply buried emotions that are drawn from past experiences. Through this book, the author gets an avenue through which she makes her truth known.

9. The Fire Next Time

This is a text that deposes two essays one being a letter addressed to his teenage nephew encouraging him not to succumb to racist ideas that say that being black makes him less of a human being. The second essay titled Down at the Cross is an exploration of Baldwin’s life as a child where there was poverty, struggle with religious mandates, and his strenuous relationship with his dad.

10. Between the World and Me

This was a book inspired by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and is an essay addressing the author’s teenage son concerning being black in America. This book cautions him about the danger and difficulty due to the challenge of white supremacy.

11. Invisible Man

This defines a black man’s search for identity and moves on to a struggle encountered by many others. The protagonist named Invisible Man does not feel seen by society due to racism. In his experiences, he goes through fortunate as well as unfortunate situations that are driven by the desire to find his place in society.

12. Sing, Unburied Sing

A novel about a family dealing with racial dynamics in the South.

13. This Will Be My Undoing

A novel outlining race, womanhood, and feminism in today’s media-driven society.


These now-famous black authors were able to get their inspiration from the living conditions that surrounded them at that time. The true stories connected with so many and this formed the basis of many of them being award winners in their rights. You’ll enjoy these great books from these famous black authors.

Related: Women’s Empowerment Books

Leave a Comment