Celebrate Black Literature: Nicky Drayden’s picks

Join us in celebrating black literature! The Texas Book Festival is recognizing Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and contributors to the literary community and asking them to share some of their favorite black-authored works. This sharing of past and current book loves aims to enrich not only our TBR piles, but also our often-too-narrow  canon of black literature.

Today’s recommendations come from Science Fiction/Fantasy author Nicky Drayden, an Austinite and previous Texas Book Festival author and moderator.

Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. Her award-winning novel THE PREY OF GODS is set in a futuristic South Africa brimming with demigods, robots, and hallucinogenic hijinks. See more of her work on her website, or catch her on twitter.


Drayden’s third novel, Escaping Exodus, will be published in October this year, and is available for pre-order now! 

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – Harriet Jacobs

This memoir by Harriet Jacobs chronicles her life as a slave as she attempts to free herself and her children from her abusive and predatory master. Desperate and out of options, Harriet spends seven years hiding in a coffin-sized attic in the shed behind her grandmother’s home. This captivating narrative is a two hundred-year-old open wound that should be required reading for every American.

After the Flare – Deji Bryce Olukotun

A massive solar flare knocks out most of the world’s technology, except for a narrow band around the equator. Nigeria’s fledgling space agency is the only one left functioning and must get up and running in time to save an astronaut stranded in orbit. In book two of his Nigerians in Space series, Olukotun weaves together a punchy and mind-bending tale, blending science fiction, mystery, and magic.

How Long ’til Black Future Month? – N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin is one of my literary heroes, and I just about fell out of my chair when I was asked to blurb this book. Jemisin’s creative genius is packed into this collection of poignant short stories, each examining how heroism is birthed in the margins of society. It features cities that breathe and come to life, kings that eat dragon hearts, and many more stunning stories that will immerse you in worlds both eerie and complex.