Celebrating Black women writers and achievers: Black History Month 2023

Oct 16 2023

People Person by Candice Carty-Williams, Manifesto on Never Giving Up  by Bernardine Evaristo and Black in Time: The Most Awesome Black Britons From Yesterday to Today by Alison Hammond

This year’s Black History Month is themed ‘Saluting Our Sisters’ and shines the spotlight on pioneering Black women who’ve blazed a trail in this country. It’s a recognition of their leadership and talent and their invaluable contribution to our society.

We’re reflecting this year’s theme with two collections of books on Borrowbox by Black women writers and achievers, one each for adults and children.

Here’s a taster from the inspiring book selections:

Adult fiction

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Winner of the Polari First Book Prize and recently adapted for television by ITV, this tells the haunting tale of one woman’s fight to tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

To find out more about The Confessions of Frannie Langton, listen to our interview with the author, Sara Collins on the Love Your Library podcast.

Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2023, Fire Rush is a story of dub reggae, love, loss and Black womanhood. Yamaye lives for the smoke-filled nights when she goes out partying at an underground club in an industrial town near London. They give her a chance to discover who she really is. But everything changes when she falls in love with a man who may give her the chance to escape.

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award, The Fortune Men is the story of Mahmood Mattan, a Somali sailor, immigrant, adventurer, gambler, and sometime petty thief, who is accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Mostly set in 1950s Cardiff, Mahmood is in a horrifying fight for his life against the prejudice, conspiracy, and the inhumanity of the state.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

On an unremarkable Saturday in 1982, two brown girls, who dream of being dancers, meet. Only one has talent. The other has ideas and she’s been taught her future is her own to decide.

Their close but complicated childhood friendship ends abruptly in their early twenties as their paths diverge. While their lives have taken different trajectories, they never dance out of each other's lives completely.

People Person by Candice Carty-Williams

People Person by Candice Carty-Williams

Author of Sunday Times’ bestselling Queenie, this is another witty and insightful story of the power of family. Dimple is 30 and her life isn’t really going anywhere until a dramatic event brings her half siblings crashing back into her life, and they’re forced to reconnect with the absent father they never really knew.

Non-fiction

Manifesto on Never Giving Up by Bernardine Evaristo

Manifesto on Never Giving Up by Bernardine Evaristo

Manifesto is Evaristo’s intimate and fearless account of the journey to become the first Black woman to win the Booker Prize for her novel Girl, Woman, Other - a revolutionary landmark for Britain. Her route was a long one, but she made it, and she made history. Through the prism of her extraordinary experiences, she offers vital insights into the nature of race, class, feminism, sexuality and ageing in modern Britain.

Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

An inspirational guide to life for Black British women inspired to find success in every area of their lives. From education to work to dating, this inspirational, honest and provocative book recognises and celebrates the strides Black women have already made, while providing practical advice for those who want to do the same and forge a better, visible future.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this personal, eloquently argued essay, adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Half of a Yellow Sun, her second novel won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Children's

The Good Turn by Sharna Jackson

The Good Turn by Sharna Jackson

A thrilling, pacy adventure about friendship, bravery and real-life injustice from the award-winning author of High Rise Mystery. Eleven-year-old Rosie is definitely a leader and enlists her friends into her own Scout troop. They start their quest for their camping badge but stumble on something strange… Can they solve the mystery? This has been described as a ‘thoughtful update’ to Blytonesque adventure stories.

Coming to England by Floella Benjamin

Coming to England by Floella Benjamin

This inspirational story is a powerful reminder that courage and determination can overcome adversity. Floella Benjamin was just a young girl when she, her sister and two brothers arrived in England in 1960 to join their parents. They had left the paradise of Trinidad to make a new home in London. As her new life began, she was shocked by the rejection she experienced. She soon realised that the only way to survive was to work twice as hard and be twice as good as anyone else.

Black in Time: The Most Awesome Black Britons From Yesterday to Today by Alison Hammond and E. L. Norry

Black in Time: The Most Awesome Black Britons From Yesterday to Today by Alison Hammond and E. L. Norry

From sports people to scientists, activists to musicians, politicians to writers, this book will introduce you to an extraordinary group of people who have helped shape the world we live in.

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