Black Women Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors You Should ReadSep 09, 2023 10:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
There are increasingly more books by Black female authors featuring Black characters leading revolutions, wielding superpowers, and being the kickass heroes saving the world. If you’re seeking to delve into the sci-fi and fantasy world, this list of can’t-miss, acclaimed sci-fi and fantasy novels written by Black female authors is a good place to start.
1. Tananarive Due
Tananarive Priscilla Due is an American author and educator. Due won the American Book Award for her novel The Living Blood. A leading voice in Black speculative fiction for more than 20 years, Due has won an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a British Fantasy Award, and her writing has been included in best-of-the-year anthologies. Her books include Ghost Summer: Stories, My Soul to Keep, and The Good House. She is also known as a film historian with expertise in Black horror. Due teaches a course at UCLA called The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival and the Black Horror Aesthetic which focuses on the Jordan Peele film Get Out.
2. Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born Canadian speculative fiction writer and editor. Hopkinson received the 1999 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for Emerging Writers. Her novels such as Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, and The Salt Roads, and short stories such as those in her collection Skin Folk often draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling. The Salt Roads received the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for the positive exploration of queer issues in speculative fiction. As an author, Hopkinson often uses themes of Caribbean folklore, Afro-Caribbean culture, and feminism. In 2020, Hopkinson was named the 37th Damon Knight Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
3. Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedimma Nkemdili "Nnedi" Okorafor is a Nigerian-American writer of science fiction and fantasy for children and adults. She is best known for her Binti series and novels Who Fears Death, Zahrah the Windseeker, Akata Witch, Akata Warrior, Lagoon, and Remote Control. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Eisner Award, and World Fantasy Award. She has also written for comics and film. Okorafor has also written an African futurist comic series LaGuardia, which won an Eisner Award and a Hugo Award. Okorafor has also written comics for Marvel, including Black Panther: Long Live The King and the Shuri series.
4. Nisi Shawl
Nisi Shawl is an African-American writer, editor, and journalist. They are best known as an author of science fiction and fantasy short stories who writes and teaches about how fantastic fiction might reflect real-world diversity of gender, sexual orientation, race, colonialism, physical ability, age, and other sociocultural factors. In 2008, they won the James Tiptree, Jr. award, given to outstanding works of science fiction or fantasy, for their novel Filter House. Shawl's first novel, Neo-Victorian, Belgian-Congo-set, steampunk story Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier.
5. Tomi Adeyemi
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach. She is best known for her novel Children of Blood and Bone, the first in the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy which won the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, the 2019 Waterstones Book Prize, and the 2019 Hugo Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book. In 2019, she was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. In 2020, she was named to the TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2020 in the "Pioneers" category. She has worked with Disney, Amazon, and Netflix. Adeyemi teaches creative writing through her online course, The Writer's Roadmap.
7. Namina Forna
Namina Forna is a Sierra Leonean American author of young adult fiction and a screenwriter. Forna is the daughter of the Honorable A. G. Sembu Forna, a noted Sierra Leonean politician, and her mother is ambassador and former Sierra Leone deputy minister of foreign affairs, Ebun Strasser-King. Her debut novel The Gilded Ones was published in February 2021 and quickly entered the New York Times and Indie Bestseller lists. Forna became the first Sierra Leonean American to land a book deal with a major publisher for a young adult fantasy novel. Forna is an accomplished public speaker, especially on the topics of feminism, storytelling, and challenging dominant narratives.
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8. Roseanne A. Brown
Roseanne A. Brown is a Ghanaian-American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and young adult fiction. She is best known for her debut novel A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, which became a New York Times best-seller, and its sequel, A Psalm of Storms and Silence. She has worked with Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney among other publishers.
9. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan-British novelist and short story writer. She is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. In 2018, she was awarded a Windham-Campbell Prize in the fiction category. In 2021, her novel The First Woman won the Jhalak Prize. Her first novel, Kintu, displays all of these literary qualities. Taking place mostly in 1750, a Bugandan man named Kintu receives a curse that plagues him and his descendants through to the 2000s. While exploring the power of curses, the novel also educates readers on how the Kingdom of Buganda evolved to become what we know now as modern Uganda. The story weaves folklore into colonial history and modern independence with an intriguing persistence.
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10. Lauren Blackwood
Lauren Blackwood is a Jamaican American living in Virginia who writes Romance-heavy Fantasy for most ages. When not writing, she's a musician and a tiramisu connoisseur. She's the New York Times bestselling author of Within These Wicked Walls and Wildblood. When not writing, she’s a physical therapy assistant who doesn’t know how to settle on one career field. Within These Wicked Walls is a fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre starring an exorcist named Andromeda and a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester.
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Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.
She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.
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