Looking for a Novel with an African American Female Protagonist
July 10, 2018 7:02 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a novel with the following criteria:

-African-American Female Author
-African-American Female Protagonist or Ensemble
-Contemporary Time Period
-U.S. setting preferred
-Literary Fiction Preferred
posted by mpbx to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Terry McMillan’s novels would fit that bill. She wrote “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”, among others.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:14 PM on July 10


Bebe Moore Campbell
posted by brujita at 7:35 PM on July 10


The Mothers by Britt Bennett
posted by third word on a random page at 7:36 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I'm in the middle of reading Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson.
posted by moonmilk at 7:40 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Interesting Women by Andrea Lee.
posted by Buddy_Boy at 7:47 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]




Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward?
posted by Beardman at 7:52 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie might fit the bill, although the main character is a Nigerian living in America, so more African in America than African-American. Great book.
posted by dis_integration at 8:01 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]






OK I know you said a novel but please check out the short story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer. It's sooo good.
posted by nantucket at 11:11 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Not dead on what you wanted but Zadie Smith’s On Beauty? Smith is British rather than American, but it’s a literary novel set in America by a black woman with a black woman as one of the protagonists, and it’s great.
posted by LizardBreath at 11:31 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi might fit your bill. Starts a bit back in history but continues through to present day.
posted by stillmoving at 11:39 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Tanita S. Davis' Mare's War among others is very good; part of it is set during WWII but otherwise it fits your criteria.
posted by huimangm at 12:22 AM on July 11




Oh! Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi might also fit your requirements.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:04 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Seconding zz packer!

Some of alice walker's novels might be set in contemporary periods depending on how far thar goes back

Gloria Naylor

April Sinclair writes novels about queer african american women in the 70s and 80s that i really enjoyed.
posted by bearette at 5:47 AM on July 11


Toni Cade Bambara
posted by brujita at 6:03 AM on July 11


I was also going to recommend The Turner House and another novel by Tayari Jones, Silver Sparrow.

Sister Souljah's The Coldest Winter Ever may also be worth checking out.
posted by torridly at 7:11 AM on July 11


Seconding Drinking Coffee Elsewhere — one of the best short story collections I've ever read.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:16 AM on July 11


If you're open to *excellent* science/speculative fiction, Octavia Butler is an amazing author who shouldn't be missed. The cast majority of her stories feature African-American women as the protagonist. I'd recommend starting with Parable of the Sower, which was written in the 90s about today, essentially, and seems incredibly prophetic, given our current dumpster fire.
posted by Jaclyn at 8:34 AM on July 11 [8 favorites]


Strong second for The Turner House.
posted by kensington314 at 4:07 PM on July 11


Americanah
posted by Crookshanks_Meow at 8:56 PM on July 11


Seconding ZZ Packer. Excellent stuff.

- Works by Bernice McFadden
- The House of Erzulie - Kirsten Imani Kasai (Haven’t read it but heard good things about it)
- Not contemporary per se but I highly recommend Passing and Quicksand by Nella Larsen
- Family - J California Cooper
posted by dostoevskygirl at 2:38 AM on July 12


Came in here to recommend the Parable of the Sower, and I see that Jaclyn beat me to it!

Americanah and Silver Sparrow are also excellent.
posted by basalganglia at 6:53 PM on July 12


How contemporary should contemporary be? Is within the lifetime/memory of the author enough, or absolute present?
posted by Salamandrous at 9:08 PM on July 13


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