The best way to honour Toni Morrison is to continue her legacy by celebrating and supporting Black female writers. So here’s a thread of fantastic women whose work you should read.

[email protected] is one of the most interesting and exciting writers I know. Her commentary is always spot on, and has a way of getting you to think deeply about things we’re encouraged to take for granted. She co-authored Slay in Your Lane with the phenomenal @lizuvie.
[email protected]’s poetry nourishes the soul. She’s brilliant at recognising inequalities without ever being defeatist. There is so much joy in her words. And Salena’s autobiography is luminous from start to finish.
[email protected] has written some of the most gripping YA fiction going in modern day Britain. Her characters are compelling and full of complications - their stories remind readers of how important compassion is.
I always recommend @JackieKayPoet - not just because she gave a blueprint for life as a Black Scottish lesbian, but because there is so much delight and generosity of spirit in her work. Every word counts. She’s also really funny. Proud that Jackie is our Poet Makar.
Another writer who definitely deserves celebrating is @KGuilaine. She’s insightful, compassionate, and observant. Her work is a rich resource on the psychology of racism.
[email protected] wrote one of the most topical and necessary books imaginable with Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. It’s political but never esoteric - and, like all of her articles, a cracking good read.
Alice Walker gets a lot of appreciation - all of it earned. Her prose, poetry, and non-fiction are all spellbinding. Walker’s words offer a mixture of sustenance and guidance for Black women trying to find our way in this world.
[email protected] Okorafor writes such original, delightful stories. She’s unafraid to leave traditional genres or narrative styles behind, and her work is all the richer for being written entirely in her own voice. Mind-blowing stuff.
N.K. Jemisin is one of the finest fantasy writers ever. Her Broken Earth trilogy is fascinating, the characters and world both a joy to witness. If you haven’t read her books, read them. If you have read her books, do yourself a favour & read them again.
[email protected] is a woman of many talents. The only thing better than reading her poetry is watching her perform it live. Her debut collection, Elephant, is outstanding. I’m looking forward to whatever she publishes next.
Yaa Gyasi seamlessly blends the past with the present with her debut novel, Homegoing. It’s one of the best debuts I have ever read, and you’ll wish that you could stay with every character. Read her writing!
[email protected] is not only a fantastic writer but an innovator. In true Morrison spirit, she built a platform (@BlackBalladUK) that’s all about Black women’s stories. Her own work is especially poignant, and has a warmth that I find irresistible.
[email protected]’s books are unlike anything I’ve ever read. They’re lush worlds to inhabit, and her descriptive language is especially beautiful. She writes magnificent speculative fiction.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Please do add more Black women writers. But right now I am too tired to continue it, so am going to raise a glass to the one and only Toni Morrison.
Andrea Levy captured so many aspects of Black British life with her books. She wrote with a great deal of honesty and heart, as well as a distinctive voice. Every one of her novels is worth reading at least once.
Quite rightly, @angiecthomas is taking YA by storm. Her novels both have the power to make you laugh and cry. Although political, her writing is never preachy. Epic storytelling rooted in the magic of Black girlhood.
With Children of Blood and Bone, @tomi_adeyemi drew upon Yoruba culture to create a world filled with magic, power struggles, and the most exquisite range of characters. Her work embodies all the best possibilities of YA fantasy.
I first encountered @catwrote at @BareLit, and bought The Princess of Caribou straight away. Her writing challenges the ubiquity of whiteness in British historical fiction and tells so many fantastic, engaging stories.
[email protected]'s poetry is like feeling the sun on your skin. She weaves rich stories from deftly chosen words, and in my personal favourite poem explores a lesbian relationship between Ruth & Naomi from the scriptures: where you go, I shall go. Daring, woman-centric work.
A social worker, activist, and cultural commentator, @FeministaJones is a woman of many talents. She's also an excellent writer, and her book - Reclaiming Our Space - is essential Black feminist reading. FJ is amazing.
Negroland, Margo Jefferson's autobiography, is one of the most precise and thought-provoking books I've every read. Sharply observant, she paints an extraordinary picture of Black bougie life in 1950s America.
If you’re ever looking for books to restore your sense of wonder, everything and anything written by Maya Angelou will do the trick. She writes about life with such style and flair that you can’t help but feel delight.
You should also read books by the genre-bending marvel that is @YrsaDaleyWard. Her poetry and memoir are dazzling, and full of valuable insights into the politics of belonging.
The writing of Audre Lorde is more relevant now than ever. The lyricism of her poetry and incisive political analysis within her essays both give Black women the tools we need to survive in an increasingly hostile world.
[email protected] will, in my heart, always be Britain’s Children’s Laureate. Her books cover everything from space travel to a world where the hierarchy of race is completely flipped. She’s a truly visionary writer.

More from Culture

I just finished Eric Adler's The Battle of the Classics, and wanted to say something about Joel Christiansen's review linked below. I am not sure what motivates the review (I speculate a bit below), but it gives a very misleading impression of the book. 1/x

The meat of the criticism is that the history Adler gives is insufficiently critical. Adler describes a few figures who had a great influence on how the modern US university was formed. It's certainly critical: it focuses on the social Darwinism of these figures. 2/x

Other insinuations and suggestions in the review seem wildly off the mark, distorted, or inappropriate-- for example, that the book is clickbaity (it is scholarly) or conservative (hardly) or connected to the events at the Capitol (give me a break). 3/x

The core question: in what sense is classics inherently racist? Classics is old. On Adler's account, it begins in ancient Rome and is revived in the Renaissance. Slavery (Christiansen's primary concern) is also very old. Let's say classics is an education for slaveowners. 4/x

It's worth remembering that literacy itself is elite throughout most of this history. Literacy is, then, also the education of slaveowners. We can honor oral and musical traditions without denying that literacy is, generally, good. 5/x

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