4 Spectacular Books by Authors Who Spotlight BIPOC Mental Health

Contemporary BIPOC authors are challenging stereotypes, offering new perspectives, and affirming the importance of mental well-being through their writing.

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Authors from marginalized communities employ a range of writing styles and forms to articulate the complexities of mental health; often addressing themes of identity, trauma, and healing through personal narratives, poetry, and fiction. These works not only illuminate the unique challenges faced by BIPOC individuals but also celebrate the richness of their cultures and the strength found within communities. Let’s look at some contemporary authors who are challenging stereotypes, offering new perspectives, and affirming the importance of mental well-being through their writing.

Black People Breathe by Zee Clarke

Zee Clarke explores the profound impact of systemic racism on the physical and mental well-being of Black individuals. Clarke delves into the daily stressors and traumas that affect the Black community, offering personal anecdotes and research-based insights


The book emphasizes the importance of breathwork and mindfulness as tools for healing and resilience. By sharing practical techniques, Clarke empowers readers to find peace and strength amidst societal challenges.

I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian-American spoken word poet, writer, and mental health advocate known for her powerful performances and candid discussions of mental health issues.

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Her memoir explores her experiences living with bipolar II disorder and anxiety, offering a raw and honest portrayal of her struggles and triumphs. Ikpi’s work delves into themes of identity, mental illness, and the African diaspora, resonating deeply with audiences for its authenticity and emotional depth. Her contributions to literature and mental health advocacy have made her a significant voice in contemporary discourse on these topics.

A Fish Growing Lungs by Alyia Li Ying Sawchyn

Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn is a contemporary author known for her insightful and thought-provoking writing. Her work often explores themes of identity, mental health, and the complexities of human relationships. With a unique blend of personal narrative and cultural critique, Sawchyn offers readers a deep dive into the intricacies of the human experience. Her writing has been widely recognized for its emotional resonance and literary elegance, earning her a place among notable voices in modern literature.

A black drawing of a severed fish on an orange cover

A Fish Growing Lungs by Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn is a memoir that chronicles her journey through mental illness, diagnosis, and self-discovery. Sawchyn candidly shares her experiences with misdiagnosis and the impact it had on her life, including the struggles and resilience required to navigate these challenges.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong is a Vietnamese-American poet and novelist known for his evocative and poignant writing. On Earth We’re Breifly Gorgeous is a semi-autobiographical work that delves into his life and the complexities of intergenerational trauma and love.

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This novel is written as a letter from a son to his illiterate mother, exploring their immigrant experiences and strained relationship. Through poetic and intimate prose, Vuong navigates themes of identity, family dynamics, and the challenges of assimilation in America.

Through poetry, memoirs, essays, and fiction, these writers not only illuminate individual struggles but also challenge societal stigmas and systemic barriers that often compound mental health challenges within BIPOC communities. Their works resonate with authenticity, offering readers pathways to empathy, understanding, and solidarity in navigating the intersections of identity and mental well-being.

Interested in finding more authors of color passionate about mental health? Check out our article on two phenomenal AAPI authors and mental health advocates here.

Check out Bookstr’s Bookshop that highlights BIPOC authors!