the strategist

11 Books by Black Authors That You Can Preorder

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While purchasing a book is always a great way to support an author, preordering a book is even better: When shoppers preorder a book, it suggests to bookstores that the new release will sell well — meaning they’ll often order additional copies for their displays or website, in turn helping the book reach a larger audience. Having a large number of presold copies on Amazon can also help give a book a “best new release” badge displayed on its product page. Here, we’ve gathered 11 forthcoming fiction and nonfiction books by Black authors that’ll publish over the next few months that you can preorder now. Consider it a gift for yourself in advance — you’ll have the package to look forward to down the road — and another way to support Black writers (and don’t forget to check out the bookstores on our ever-growing list of Black-owned businesses).

Fiction

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Writer and visual artist Akwaeke Emezi’s forthcoming book The Death of Vivek Oji has been called one of the year’s most anticipated releases by publications, including the New York Times and Elle. It’s set in a town in southeastern Nigeria, and centers on a family mourning the mysterious death of their child.

From $21
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Raven Leilani’s debut novel, Luster, is about a 20-something Black woman named Edie who works at a New York publishing house and is a painter on the side. Edie becomes infatuated with a white digital archivist in an open marriage, and when she loses her job, goes to live with Eric’s family in New Jersey, at his wife’s invitation.

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Yaa Gyasi’s last book, Homegoing, was a national best seller, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the NBCC John Leonard Award, and many others. Gyasi’s latest is about a neuroscience Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University named Gifty, who is from a Ghanian family living in Alabama. Gifty tries to apply the scientific disciplines she studies to her own family’s struggles with addiction and depression, but finds herself torn between science and the promise of salvation taught in her childhood Evangelical church.

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By the author of the story collection Lot, Memorial is a novel set in Houston about the relationship between Mike, a Japanese-American chef, and Benson, a Black day-care teacher. They’ve been dating happily for a few years, but have hit a stagnant moment — until Mike hears that his estranged father is dying and goes to visit him in Osaka, just as his mother arrives in Texas, and ends up spending more time with Benson than either bargained for.

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Alaya Dawn Johnson is known for her speculative fiction, and in Trouble the Saints, she creates a story that’s part New York crime and part alternate history, featuring an assassin who falls in love.

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Writer and filmmaker Francesca Ekwuyasi’s Butter Honey Pig Bread tells the interconnected stories of three Nigerian women: two twin daughters and their mother, who believes she is an Ogbanje, or an Abiku, meaning a spirit who causes her family to suffer from misfortune after being born and then dies in childhood.

Nonfiction

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The essays in This Is Major draw from Shayla Lawson’s personal history, political historical insights, and pop-culture musings to look at how Black women have influenced mainstream culture, and explores what it’s like to be a Black woman on Twitter and Tinder.

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Poet and essayist Claudia Rankine’s Citizen was one of the most important books of the last few years. Her forthcoming Just Us is likely to be just as pressing in its consideration of how we can live in a country where everyday white supremacy permeates society, and the questions we must ask in order to move toward a more equitable world.

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In this memoir, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey writes about the murder of her mother, and looks to her mother’s childhood in the segregated South to consider how her family’s history and the horrific event of her mother’s death have shaped her own life as an artist.

In Stakes Is High, Mychal Denzel Smith looks at how the years of Trump’s presidency have forced us to reckon with the many contradictions and obstacles that make the “American Dream” a myth for many, and helps imagine what it would look like to shape an American identity that overcomes these failings.