The Root's Global Book List

Illustration for article titled The Roots Global Book List

After a month of celebrating and exploring the lives, contributions and struggles of black people, it is only appropriate that we highlight the literary gifts of black people from around the globe. Check out these recent titles that celebrate the diversity and commonality of all of our experiences.


What We All Long For

By Dionne Brand

Thomas Dunne Books, December 2008

From an award-winning poet, this novel, originally published in Canada in 2005 follows a multicultural crew of 20-somethings-a Vietnamese lesbian artist, biracial bicycle courier, Jamaican poet-as they grapple with cementing who there are in the midst of internal identity struggles and external family conflicts.


The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood

By Helene Cooper

Simon & Schuster, September 2008

A recount of a New York Times correspondent's Liberian upbringing, which spans both the country's "good times" and its tragic, war-torn ones.

Blonde Roots

By Bernardine Evaristo

Riverhead, January 2009

Written by a biracial poet and originally published in the U.K. last year, this is a witty, yet provocative slavery retelling, where "Aphrikans" are the masters of "whytes" in need of "civilization."


The Torturer's Wife

By Thomas Glave

City Lights Publishers, January 2009

Bronx-born Jamaican and New York raised, this writer/activist's new short-story collection confronts race, war, sexuality and eroticism-a mix that only serious talents can deliver.


War Child: A Child Soldier's Story

By Emmanuel Jal

St. Martin's Press, February 2009

From innocent boy growing up in Sudan to child soldier wielding an AK-47, Jal's story is harrowing; his survival unfathomable. Music became part of his salvation. Now as a critically acclaimed hip-hop artist, his personal revolution reminds us about the strength of the human spirit and how hip-hop can be used as a voice of awareness and change.


The Book of Night Women

By Marlon James

Riverhead, February 2009

Fresh from the critical success of his first book John Crow's Devil-which is a personal favorite-James returns with an equally ambitious composition about a women-led slave revolt plot.


The Jive Talker: An Artist's Genesis

By Samson Kambalu

Free Press, August 2008

This memoir of a Malawian-born young man provides a unique view of how an artist came up in the midst of pop culture affinities-think Madonna, Michael Jackson and Footloose-an animated father, Christianity and African traditions.


Early Soyinka

Edited by Bernth Lindfors

Africa World Press, August 2008

A collection of essays about early writings from Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka again validates that the revered artist possesses a talent in a range of letters and creative expressions.


Pynter Bender

By Jacob Ross

Fourth Estate, September 2008

From a writer known for his short-story collections, this novel, set in Grenada when the island is craving independence, is led by the eyes of a boy-once blind-who's part of a troubled family also trying to claim freedoms.


Ship Shape

By Dorothea Smartt

Peepal Tree Press, April 2009

This new poetry collection from a celebrated truth-seeker blends the little known history of Samboo, an African slave given as a gift to a sea captain's wife in Lancaster, U.K. with the weight of African Caribbean displacement.


Felicia Pride is the founder of the literary BackList and author of THE MESSAGE: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-hop's Greatest Songs.

is a writer, speaker, author of books for adults and youth, and the book columnist for The Root. Her most recent book is \"The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs.\" Visit her at

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