Spotlight on: Our Community
ADULT FICTION BOOKLIST
Reading is a great way to learn about equality and diversity. Here is a selection of adult fiction that tell stories that celebrate the ethnically diverse communities of our world as well as providing a good starting point for exploring the topics of racism, prejudice and black history.
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
To his customers and neighbours on 125th Street, Ray Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably-priced furniture, making a life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it’s still home. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his facade of normality has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time. Cash is tight, especially with all those instalment plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace at the furniture store, Ray doesn’t see the need to ask where it comes from. He knows a jeweller downtown who also doesn’t ask questions. Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa and volunteers Ray’s services as the fence.
Keisha the Sket by Jade LB
Keisha is a girl from the ends, sharp, feisty and ambitious; she’s been labelled ‘top sket’ but she’s making it work. When childhood crush and long-time admirer, Ricardo, finally wins her over, Keisha has it all: power, a love life and the chance for stability. But trauma comes knocking and with it a whirlwind of choices that will define what kind of a woman she truly wants to be.
What a Mother’s Love don’t teach you by Sharma Taylor
At eighteen years old, Dinah gave away her baby son to the rich couple she worked for before they left Jamaica. They never returned. She never forgot him. Eighteen years later, a young man comes from the US to Kingston. From the moment she sees him, Dinah never doubts – this is her son. What happens next will make everyone question what they know and where they belong.
Your Show by Ashley Hickson-Lovence
From Jamaica to Sheffield to the recently formed Premier League, Uri rises through the ranks as a referee, making it to the select group list, the highest level of our national game. But along the way he is confronted with the tensions and prejudices, old and new, which emerge as his every move is watched, analysed and commented on. ‘Your Show’ is an extraordinary novel which charts one black man’s pioneering efforts to make it, against the odds, to the very top of his profession and beyond.
To fill a yellow house by Sussie Anie
When Kwasi and his family move abruptly from one side of London to the other, he sets out to explore his new home. Escaping the watchful eyes of Ma and Da and his irrepressible Aunties, he discovers the local high street and a hidden river. Back at the yellow house, he spends hours drawing, distracting himself from thoughts of the new school that awaits. As the years pass, the high street remains a source of fascination for Kwasi. But behind the ever-changing shopfronts, it’s a different story. Business is slow and times are getting tougher. Widower Rupert has been trying to hold on to the dreams he and his wife poured into their eclectic charity shop, The Chest of Small Wonders, but now he is close to giving up. One October night, Kwasi finds himself in trouble and takes refuge in the Chest, and an unexpected friendship begins. As he and Rupert unite to save the shop, they each find a sense of belonging.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and the micro-aggressions, she’s thrilled when Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events cause Nella to become Public Enemy Number One and Hazel, the Office Darling. Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW. It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realises that there is a lot more at stake than her career.
Red Island House by Andrea Lee
When Shay, an intrepid Black American professor, marries Senna, a brash Italian businessman, she doesn’t imagine that her life’s greatest adventure will carry her far beyond their home in Milan: to an idyllic stretch of beach in Madagascar where Senna builds a flamboyant vacation villa. Before she knows it, she becomes the reluctant mistress of a sprawling household, caught between her privileged American upbringing and her connection to the continent of her ancestors.
So begins Shay’s journey into the heart of a remote African country. Can she keep her identity and her marriage intact amid the wild beauty and the lingering colonial sins of this mysterious world that both captivates and destroys foreigners?
People Person by Candice Carty-Williams
Dimple Pennington knew of her half siblings, but she didn’t really know them. Five people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues.
Dimple has bigger things to think about. She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone in her life. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings crashing back into her life.
The Narrows by Ann Petry
Set in a small New England community in the 1950s. The love Link Williams shares with Camilo Sheffield is genuine, soulful and aching with promise, but the very existence of their relationship sets into motion the most unthinkable of acts and rocks their world in ways that neither of them could have imagined.
The Attic Child by Lola Jaye
This fictional work is a heartfelt and emotional dual-narrative historical story about two children locked in the same attic almost a century apart, told through the lens of Black history.