7 Debut Novels by Black Authors to Read This Year

Is one of your goals this year to read more diverse authors? Then take a look at these 7 Black debut authors and their upcoming novels!

Author's Corner Black Voices Book Culture Debut Authors Female Authors Female Voices New Authors
2023 Black Debut author book covers

The best thing about books is that there’s always something new to experience: new worlds, new characters, and new authors. These 7 authors have a passion for writing and are making their literary debut in 2023. To support and celebrate their incredible stories, check out our list of must-read novels by Black authors releasing this year.

Wade in the Water

by Nyani Nkrumah

January 17, 2023

Wade in the Water: A Novel book cover

Born in Boston and raised in Ghana and Zimbabwe, Nyani Nkrumah grew up with a love for reading and writing, which was fostered by her mother who encouraged Nkrumah and her siblings to recite poems and Shakespeare soliloquies.

Nkrumah displays her love of literature in her very first book Wade in the Water, as she weaves together the stories of an unlikely pair. We follow the story of Ella, a black, unloved, precocious eleven-year-old, and Ms. St. James, a mysterious white woman from Princeton. We see how the complex relationship between Ella and Ms. St. James evolves through its ups and downs as Ella tries to break through Ms. St. James’ carefully constructed walls.

River Sing Me Home

by Eleanor Shearer

(January 19, 2023)

Debut novel 'River Sing Me Home' book cover

Eleanor Shearer is a mixed-race author living on the coasts of England. She studied the legacy of slavery for her Master’s degree at the University of Oxford, and performed field work in Barbados which became the inspiration for her debut novel River Sing Me Home. Set in Barbados after the Emancipation Act of 1834, the story follows Rachel who escapes from her former enslaver to search for her five children who were taken away from her and sold to other plantations. Throughout the story, Rachel goes through extraordinary lengths to find her children and to once again be reunited with them, this time as free people.

The Davenports

by Krystal Marquis

January 31, 2023

The Daveports book cover

Krystal Marquis has always been a life-long reader with her favorite books being romance novels. It was only until she was dared to write a book for NaNoWriMo did she begin research and writing of what would now become The Davenports. This debut novel features The Davenport family is one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in 1910s United States. However, things within the family begin to be turned upside down as the four determined and passionate Davenport daughters begin to discover the courage to carve their own path in life—and in love

Black Candle Women

by Diane Marie Brown

February 28, 2023

Black Candle Women book cover

Diane Marie Brown is a self-proclaimed “Writer. Diner. Winer,” who also has a strong academic career as a professor in Health at Orange Coast College and a professional writer. Her novel Black Candle Women is a wry yet warm family drama with a hint of magic added in.

The story focuses on seventeen-year-old Nickie Montrose who has lived a quiet life with her small family of women—Generations of Montrose women—Augusta, Victoria, Willow. Quiet, that is until Nickie brings home a boy for the first time and learns of the terrible family secret that quickly ends her relationship before it has even begun: the decades-old family curse that any person they fall in love with dies. Nickie must now seek out answers from who family in an attempt to break the curse that has been hanging over her family for generations.

The Shadow Sister

by Lily Meade

June 27, 2023

The Shadow Sister book cover

Born and raised in Washington state, Lily Meade has lived a life of extreme struggle and strife and yet one full of hope as well. She believes in the power of stories and lives by the motto: “Life is inspired by fiction.” Her debut book, The Shadow Sister, reflects this sentiment as we follow Casey whose manipulative sister Sutton goes missing only to reappear as not quite herself anymore. Throughout the novel, Casey tries to uncover her sister’s secrets only to find more questions than answers. Did Casey really know Sutton at all and why is no one talking about the girls who have also gone missing in the area? This thriller has the reader wondering what will it take for Casey to uncover the truth.

One Summer in Savannah

by Terah Shelton Harris

July 11, 2023

One Summer in Savannah book cover

As a journalist, Terah Harris has written stories that have appeared in prominent magazines such as Catapult, Women’s Health, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Backpacker, Minority Nurse, and more. As a fiction writer, however, Harris’ stories focuses on love but with those all too bittersweet endings. Her debut novel One Summer in Savannah is one such story. Main character, Sara Lancaster, must find a way to reconcile with her family after a tragic incident occurs. The book takes a deep dive as it interrogates questions of family, redemption, and unconditional love all while in the sweltering summer heat of Savannah.

Everyone’s Thinking It

by Aleema Omotoni

September 5, 2023

Aleema Omotoni is a British-Nigerian author who writes novels that center Black teens coming of age, falling in love, and navigating all kinds of contemporary and fantasy worlds. Her soon-to-be-published book Everyone’s Thinking It, is a funny homage to the movie Mean Girls as it follows Iyanu and Kitan, two Nigerian cousins attending an elite boarding school in the English countryside. Both girls are thrown into chaos as everyone’s juicy relationship secrets are released “Burn Book style” conspiracy the week before the annual Valentine’s Day Ball.

Want to stay up to date with all the latest and greatest book releases? Check out debut authors and their books here!