For Juneteenth: Recommended Readings by Black Authors

Black Stories Matter

What follows is the beginning of a living document listing the Clarion West community’s recommended reading by Black and African American authors. These authors are our alumni, instructors, staff, friends, and heroes, and they include writers of Clarion San Diego as well.

While we wish to keep this list focused on science fiction, fantasy, and horror, we recognize that these categories have been historically defined by white Western publishers and others who profit from writers’ work. Thus, there is room to include work beyond a rigid, postcolonial, capitalist definition of speculative fiction and SF/F/H.

This list is by no means comprehensive; please comment below with your suggestions to add to this guide.

CW Graduates:

Lue Palmer (‘21)

Wata Tika Dan Blood” (The Caribbean Writer, 2020)

shakirah peterson (‘21)

The Letting of a Little Water (World Stage Press, 2019)

Celeste Rita Baker (19)

Back, Belly and Side (Aqueduct Press, 2015)

De Motherjumpers” in Strange Horizons

Glass Bottle Dancer” in Lightspeed

Woody Dismukes (18)

The Way the Cowries Fall (Fall 2020)

Zombie of Palmares” in FIYAH: Magazine of Black Speculative Literature, April 2020

Rafeeat Aliyu (18)

“58 Rules to Ensure Your Husband Loves You Forever,” Nightmare, 2019 Locus Recommended Reading List

Gabriel Teodros (16)

“Lalibela” from Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (AK Press, 2015)

Evidence of Things Not Seen (album)

Cadwell Turnbull (’16)

A Third of the Stars of Heaven” in Lightspeed

Loneliness is in Your Blood” in Nightmare

The Lesson (2019)

Justin C. Key (’15)

One Hand in the Coffin” in Strange Horizons

Afiya’s Song” in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Nana Nkweti (’15)

The Devil is a Liar” in The Masters Review

It Just Kills You Inside” in the New Orleans Review

Chinelo Onwualu (14)

“The Fine Print” New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color (Solaris, 2019)

Erik Owomoyela (’10)

Persephone D’Shaun (’09)

An Owomoyela (’08)

And Wash Out by Tides of War,” Clarkesworld Magazine (2014) and Warrior Women (Prime Books 2015)

Christopher Caldwell (’07)

The Calcified Heart of Saint Ignace Battiste,” (Uncanny, 2022)

Jasmine Silvera (Rashida J. Smith CW ’05)

Death’s Dancer (2016)

Tempest Bradford (03)

“The Copper Scarab” in Clockwork Cairo, 2017

Sunspot Jungle: The Ever Expanding Universe of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 2019.

Ibi Zoboi (01)

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich (2019)

American Street (2017)

Kiini Ibura Salaam (01)

Ancient, Ancient (2012)

Sheree Renée Thomas (’99)

Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future (Third Man Books, 2020)

Sleeping Under the Tree of Life (Aqueduct Press, 2016)

Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems (Aqueduct Press, 2011)

Andrea Hairston (99)

Will Do Magic for Small Change (Aqueduct Press, 2016)

Craig L. Gidney (’96)

A Spectral Hue (2019)

Nisi Shawl (92)

Everfair (2016)

Filter House (2008)



New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color (Solaris, 2019) (ed. Nisi Shawl)

Octavia’s Brood: from Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (AK Press, 2005) (ed. Adrienne Maree BrownWalidah Imarisha)

Dark Matter: A century of Speculative Fiction (2000) (ed. Sheree Thomas)

Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (Aspect, 2004) (ed. Sheree Thomas)

So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy (2004) (ed. Nalo Hopkinson)

Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany (Rosarium, 2015) (ed. Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (Rosarium, 2013) (ed. Bill Campbell and Edward Hall)


Samuel R. Delany

Babel-17 (Nebula Award 1966)

The Einstein Intersection (Nebula Award 1966)



Return to Nevèrÿon

Octavia E. Butler (Clarion Writers Workshop, 70)

Kindred, the Xenogenesis trilogy

Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Talents

“Bloodchild” and Other Stories

Minister Faust

The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad

From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain

Nalo Hopkinson (Clarion Writers Workshop, 05)

Brown Girl in the Ring

Skin Folk

The Salt Roads

Nnedi Okorafor (Clarion Writers Workshop, 01)

Who Fears Death


The Shadow Speaker

Akata Warrior

N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Broken Earth series

Karen Lord

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Redemption in Indigo

Tobias S. Buckell (Clarion Writers Workshop, 2000)

“The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex” in New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color (March, 2019)
reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol 1 (Sep. 2020)
audio version podcast at LeVar Burton Reads (May, 2019)

Hurricane Fever (Tor, 2014)

Xenowealth series (Crystal Rain et al.)

P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn

Bill Campbell

The Day the Klan Came to Town

More Recommendations, Booksellers, and Resources:

Carl Brandon Society : The Carl Brandon Society’s mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction.

Nisi Shawl’s Crash Course in Black Science Fiction ( 

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror  (documentary, streaming free on SHUDDER)

Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present by Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman (book)

30 Black Comic Book Authors You Should Know by Troy L. Wiggins

Sistah SciFi : (online bookshop) Founded by Isis Asare, Sistah Scifi is a cauldron of all things afro-futurism; Black mysticism, science fiction noir, and traditional voodoo; casting spells to uplift literature written by Black women.

More Black-Owned Bookstores 

Featured Black-Owned Bookstores

Tananarive Due (author, screenwriter, teacher)

Steven Barnes (author, screenwriter, teacher)

Charles R. Saunders and the IMARO books

Terence Taylor (horror author)

Douglas Kearney’s speculative poetry

Jason Mott (author)

Gary Jackson’s speculative poetry

Jason McCall’s speculative poetry

Editors’ note: We love our friend Matt Ruff, author of Lovecraft Country. While Jordan Peele and his team brought a live action series adaptation to HBO, Matt himself is a white author, and thus not officially included on the above list. 

Originally compiled by Rashida J. Smith, 6/2020.

Updated periodically by the Clarion West team [Last updated 7/5/22].

Have suggestions for more? Corrections? Please let us know in the at

Similar Posts