Last year, I put together a list of debuts by black authors that were being released in 2021. I’ll be honest, I didn’t get to read them all… BUT, it did encourage me to make loads of pre-orders and I’ve done a list for 2022 so I can inspire you to read them!
These books sound like absolute perfection so please do check them out. Supporting black debut authors is incredibly important and pre-orders are generally considered to make or break a novel. I’d urge as many people to pre-order these books so we can lend our support to these authors.
- What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris
After her father dies of an overdose and the loss of their family home in Detroit, Kenyatta Bernice (KB) and her teenage sister are sent to live with their estranged grandfather. Over the course of a single, sweltering summer, KB attempts to get her bearings in a world that has turned upside down. As she examines the jagged pieces of her recently shattered world, she learns that while some truths cut deep, a new life–and a new KB–can be built from the shards.
Genre / Theme: Literary, family saga, coming of age
Publication date: 1st February 2022 (US)
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Author IG: @authorkaiharris
I’d recommend it to lovers of… ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’ by Jesmyn Ward.
- Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence by Sonja Thomas
Twelve-year-old Mira’s summer is looking pretty bleak. Her best friend just moved a billion miles away, her unemployed dad has been super down lately, and now, Mira’s beloved cat – Sir Fig Newton – needs urgent medical help. When Mira’s parents tell her they may have to give Fig up to people who can afford his treatment, Mira insists she can earn the $2,000 needed within a month. Armed with ingenuity, determination, and one surprising ally, can Mira save her best (four-legged) friend before it’s too late?
Genre / Theme: Middle grade, uplit
Publication date: 15th March 2022 (US)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (US)
Author IG: @bysonjathomas
Recommended to lovers of… ‘Genesis Begins Again’ by Alicia D Williams
- Hope and Glory by Jendella Benson
When Glory arrives back in Peckham to mourn the sudden death of her father, she finds her previously-close family has fallen apart in her absence. Her brother, Victor, has been jailed; her sister, Faith, appears to have lost her independence and ambition; and their mother, Celeste, is headed towards a breakdown. Rather than returning to her seemingly glamorous life in LA, Glory decides to stay in Peckham and bring them all together again. However, when she unearths a huge family secret, Glory risks losing everyone she truly cares about in her pursuit of the truth.
Genre / Theme: Coming of age, contemporary, women’s fiction
Publication date: 7th April 2022 (UK) / 19th April 2022 (US)
Publisher: Orion (UK) / HarperCollins (US)
Author IG: @jendella
Recommended to lovers of… ‘Transcendent Kingdom’ by Yaa Gyasi
- Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children: a family recipe for traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a young woman’s heart-breaking journey from her island home. But the secrets Eleanor still holds back and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their family. Can they piece together Eleanor’s true history and fulfil her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right?”
Genre / Theme: Contemporary fiction, multi-generational, family saga
Publication date: 3rd Feb 2022 (UK)
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Author IG: @charmspen1
Recommended to lovers of… ‘The Lowland’ by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Theatre of Marvels by L.M.Dillsworth
In Victorian London, Zillah, a mixed-race theatre actress, has left behind the shadowy slums of St Giles to become the star of Stratton’s Variety Show. Cast as ‘The Great Amazonia’ she incites fear and intrigue in equal measure. When a new act is introduced – a black woman with vitiligo exhibited as the ‘The Leopard Lady’ – Zillah is forced to confront the dark side of her profession. And when the woman goes missing, Zillah is determined to find and save her.
Genre / Theme: Historical fiction, mystery, crime
Publication date: 14th April 2022 (UK)
Publisher: Hutchinson Heinemann (PRH)
Author Twitter: @LianneDWrites
Recommended to lovers of… ‘Fingersmith’ by Sarah Waters
- Yinka, Where is your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
Yinka wants to find love. But she has a mum who thinks she’s better qualified to find it for her and too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom. Plus, the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too… When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding. Will Yinka find herself a huzband? And what if the thing she really needs is to find herself?
Genre / Theme: Contemporary women’s fiction, coming of age, romance, humour
Publication date: 31st March 2022 (UK) / 18th Janiary 2022 (US)
Publisher: Viking PRH
Author IG: @lizziedamiblackburn
Recommended to lovers of… ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen
- Wahala by Nikki May
This novel follows three Anglo-Nigerian friends. Ronke – who wants happily ever after, even though her friends think her current lover is just another in a long line of dodgy Nigerian boyfriends. Boo – who has everything Ronke wants, but is frustrated and desperate to remember who she used to be. Simi – who is the golden one with the perfect lifestyle, but no one knows she’s crippled by impostor syndrome. When the high-flying, charismatic Isobel explodes into the group it seems like she’s bringing out the best in each woman. But the more Isobel intervenes, the more chaos she sows, and Ronke, Simi, and Boo’s close friendship begins to crack…
Genre / Theme: Commercial women’s fiction, crime twist, humour
Publication date: 6th January 2022 (UK) / 11th January 2022 (US)
Publisher: HarperCollins (US) / Transworld PRH (UK)
Author IG: @nikkimaywriter
Recommended to lovers of… ‘Sex and the City’ meets ‘My Sister the Serial Killer’
- You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen
Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. The blog was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but as its popularity grows, so do the hateful comments. After a threat, the search to find out who is behind all of the hatred begins…
Genre / Theme: Young adult, mystery
Publication date: 8th February 2022 (US)
Publisher: Inkyard Press (HarperCollins) (US)
Author IG: @lailasabreenwrites
Recommended to lovers of… ‘The Beauty of Your Face’ by Sahar Mustafah
- Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye
Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods. Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training, and destroy them from within.
Genre / Theme: Young adult, fantasy
Publication date: 8th March 2022 (US) / 31st March 2022 (UK)
Author IG: @deborahfalaye
Recommended to lovers of… ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi
- Sade and her Shadow Beasts by Rachel Faturoti
Twelve-year-old Sadé has been escaping to an imaginary world ever since her mum passed away. Soon she discovers that frightening shadow beasts live there too and they are seeping into the real world. Luckily, when her sister signs her up to an anonymous grief counselling group, Sadé finds her anxiety gets better. But then she’s asked to perform spoken word in the talent show and the beasts won’t let her get on stage…
Genre / Theme: Middle Grade (9+), mental health, grief
Publication date: 7th July 2022 (UK)
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group
Author IG: @authorrachelfaturoti
Recommended to lovers of… ‘Julia and the Shark’ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Click here to pre-order from a range of retailers