Black women writers have always blazed a trail in the world of literature. Their works, from Toni Morrison to Flora Nwapa have offered us a window into the often-overlooked world of what it means to be Black and female. Their writing has provided the language and appropriate context for engaging culturally sensitive and sometimes, intellectually layered matters. Those include race, misogynoir, trauma, queerness, love and community. 

21Ninety is highlighting some of the best books published or forthcoming by Black women in May. The books include YA, Nonfiction, cultural essays and fiction.

The Three of Us, May 11

Ore Agbaje-Williams’ novel, “The Three of Us” is a gripping work of fiction. It switches between three narrative perspectives – a husband, a wife and their best friend – in the span of a day. The book has been highly lauded. According to the official blurb, “The Three of Us is part-suburban millennial comedy of manners and part-domestic noir that will leave you wondering: whose side are you on?”

Quietly Hostile, May 16

Essayist Samantha Irby is known for her timely, deliciously written cultural essays. Quietly Hostile is her newest offering. The essay collection has been described by NPR as a “survival guide of sorts.” It chronicles Irby’s experiences with hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps amongst other subjects.

Nigeria Jones, May 9

Author of the critically acclaimed “American Street,” Ibi Zoboi, returns with a new Young Adult fiction. It is “about discovering who you are in the world—and fighting for that person—by having the courage to be your own revolution.”

Soil: The Story Of A Black Mother’s Garden, May 2

In Soil, Camille T. Dungy a poet and scholar, “recounts the seven-year odyssey to diversify her garden in the predominately white community of Fort Collins, Colorado.” The book has received rave reviews from established authors since its release.

Notes on Her Color, May 23

Described by Sami Shah as a book “drenched in hurt and magic, love and grief” Jennifer Neal’s, “Notes on Her Color” explores the complexities of trauma, brought on by racial violence. 

An Autobiography, May 2

An Autobiography is a republication of Angela Davis’1974 book. It explores her upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama. The book also delves into Davis’ various political activities and timeless arguments on justice. This book is “told with warmth, brilliance, humor, and conviction, it is an unforgettable account of a life committed to radical change.”