15 Black Authors to Inspire Your Writing

Though this year’s Black History Month is coming to a close, our celebration of Black creation should never stop! To help you in your own self reflection of your writing, here are 15 writers of literary work that can help you in your own writing journeys, whether it be for a submission for Kudzu or your personal endeavors. By keeping these amazing writers in mind, you may see your creativity expand! 

  1. Zora Neale Hurston (1891 – 1960)

Hurston was an American author born and raised in the deep South in the early 20th century. Her work includes the popular novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, as well as her collection of essays You Don’t Know Us Negroesand her collection of short stories Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick.

2. Langston Hughes (1901 – 1967)

Hughes was an American poet that helped to bolster the Harlem Renaissance in the early 20th century. Some of his poems include “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “Mother to Son,” “I, Too, Sing America,” and “Harlem.”

3. Robert Hayden (1913 – 1980) 

Hayden was the first African American US Poet Laureate. Some of his most famous poems include “Those Winter Sundays” and “Middle Passage.”

4. James Baldwin (1924 – 1987)

Considered an important voice in both Black and queer history in 20th century America, Baldwin’s work includes his novels Go Tell It on the Mountain and If Beale Street Could Talk, as well as his collection of essays Notes of a Native Son.

5. Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

An American poet and civil rights activist, Angelou’s poems include “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “And Still I Rise,” and “Phenomenal Woman.”

6. Chinua Achebe (1930 – 2013)

Known as a staple in modern African literature, Nigerian novelist Achebe is known for his novel Things Fall Apart, as well as his popular short story The Sacrificial Egg.

7. Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019)

Morrison was a novelist born in 1931. Her most popular works, reflections of racism in the United States, include BelovedSula, and The Bluest Eye.

8. Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992)

Lorde, as well as being a poet, was a feminist, LGBTQ+ leader, and civil rights activist. Her poems include “A Woman Speaks,” “The Black Unicorn,” and “Coal.”

9. Colson Whitehead (1969 – )

Whitehead is a novelist known for The Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys, and The Institutionist, as well as his nonfiction book The Colossus of New York. His work famously toys with speculative and historical fiction.

10. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977 – )

A Nigerian writer, Adichie’s most popular works include Half of a Yellow SunAmericanah, and We Should All Be Feminists.

11. Angie Thomas (1988 – )

Thomas is an American YA author from Jackson, MS. Her works include The Hate You Give, On the Come Up, and Concrete Rose, all centered around the modern-day struggles of young African Americans.

12. Kacen Callendar (1989 – )

From St. Thomas, Callendar’s works include the YA novel Felix Ever After and their fantasy book  Queen of the Conquered.

13. Yaa Gyasi (1989 – )

Gyasi is a Ghanaian-American novelist, best known for her novels Homegoing and Transcendent Kingdon.

14. Brit Bennett (1990 – )

Bennett is an upcoming American author, known for her works The Mothers and The Vanishing Half.

15. Amanda Gorman (1998 – )

Known to be the first National Youth Poet Laureate in America, Gorman’s works include the inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb” and her poetry collection Call Us What We Carry.

Andrea Figueroa-Irizarry is a double major in English (EWM) and Psychology. She currently works in the Fiction section for The Kudzu Review, and she loves hand-embroidering every piece of fabric she can get her hands on.

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