Reading Recommendations

Finding Books by Black Authors


Here are six tips for finding books by Black authors, including a convenient list of authors linked directly to our catalog for placing requests or checking out e-books or audiobooks. Find compelling fiction and nonfiction by both contemporary and classic Black authors, including books in every genre from literary fiction to romance, to science fiction to personal memoirs, whether you are looking for a thrilling page turner are recognized prize-winner!

1. Visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library.

The Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) is home to our largest collection of materials by Black authors. Take as long as you’d like to browse this collection that features authors whose work impacts local, national, and global culture in literature, sports, business, politics, science, and music. Also don’t miss the CBLC’s website, The Power of Black Voices. This online collection includes artifacts, photographs, and articles across many categories including Black Literature and The African Diaspora. The CBLC can provide both in-person and online help finding books by Black authors.

2. Read an award winner.

Make a selection from some of the most distinguished honors in literature. The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) Literary Award, the NAACP Image Awards for Literature, and the Earnest J. Gaines Literary Award all recognize excellence in writing by Black authors. To place convenient requests browse the winners in our catalog:

3. Borrow e-books or downloadable audiobooks

Browse OverDrive’s African American Fiction and African American Nonfiction collections of e-books and downloadable audiobooks. If you have never borrowed from OverDrive or used the OverDrive Libby app before, both OverDrive browser directions and Libby app directions are available as well as an OverDrive video tutorial and Overdrive/Libby Support.

Need more help? Ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or call, text or email Ask-a-Librarian. The Tinker Station helpline at (317) 275-4500 is also available. It is staffed by device experts who can answer questions about how to read, watch and listen on a PC, tablet or phone.

4. Get reading recommendations from IndyPL staff

Click on a featured booklist to get reading recommendations or see all our staff book lists featuring Black authors.

Black Poets You Need to Read!

This list inlcudes classic, contemporary, and modern authors to provide a balanced start to a reader’s journey. Expect to feel a flurry of emotion when reading any of these titles and learning the lessons therein.

Title - Anywho, I Love YouTitle - Girls That Never DieTitle - The Hill We ClimbTitle - Black Girl, Call Home

Black Historical Fiction

Explore historical fiction by black authors and co-authors with stories from the transatlantic slave trade, the antebellum south, WWII, and the late 1960s.

Title - Deacon King KongTitle - The Good Lord BirdTitle - The Good Lord BirdTitle - The Rib King

Celebrate Black Love with These Romance Novels

Celebrate Black Love this Valentine’s Day by checking out one of these lovely romance novels. Each of these 16 books is written by a Black author and features two Black main characters. Watch Black bakers, musicians, athletes, and cowboys find love and joy with one another. After all, as poet Joi Terricotte once said, joy is an act of resistance!

Title - The Wedding PartyTitle - Once Ghosted, Twice ShyTitle - Real Men KnitTitle - Seven Days in June

5. Use your IndyPL Library card to login to Novelist Plus

Find recommendations, read-alikes, series lists, reviews, and lists of award-winning books by Black authors on Novelist Plus. Finding books by Black authors is as easy as selecting a category and then browsing through the choices.

Here is a sample listing from the Novelist category Black Creators in Comics to show a star rating and the option to “Check Availability” to see if it is available to borrow from IndyPL.

Sample listing from Black Creators in Comics from Novelist Plus.

6. Subscribe to the Black Literature Newsletter from NextReads

Receive reading recommendation in your inbox monthly for recent novels featuring stories by Black authors. Book suggestions are linked to our catalog for easy requesting. It’s FREE! See a sample issue and Subscribe to Next Reads today!

Black Authors