Famous Black Novelists

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 1 
Toni Morrison
(Novelist)
Toni Morrison
6
Birthdate: February 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lorain, Ohio
Died: August 5, 2019
Author, editor, and Princeton professor Toni Morrison is best remembered for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, part of a trilogy. Some of her other notable works include The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon. She received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. She also wrote several children’s books and plays.
 2 
Chinua Achebe
(Nigerian novelist)
Chinua Achebe
4
Birthdate: November 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ogidi, Nigeria Protectorate
Died: March 21, 2013

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian poet, novelist, professor, and critic. Often described as Africa's greatest storyteller, Achebe is widely regarded as the father of modern African writing. He was the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Man Booker International Prize 2007. His novel Things Fall Apart is one of the most read books in Africa.

 3 
Ralph Waldo Ellison
4
Birthdate: March 1, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Died: April 16, 1994
 4 
James Baldwin
(Author Best Known for His Novel 'Go Tell It on the Mountain')
James Baldwin
5
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
4
Birthdate: September 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Enugu, Nigeria

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and feminist. She is popular for writing novels, such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. She is credited with popularizing African literature among a new generation of readers, especially in the United States. In 2015, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 6 
Zora Neale Hurston
(Folklorist, Anthropologist)
Zora Neale Hurston
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Notasulga
Died: January 28, 1960

Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.

 7 
Octavia Butler
(American Author Known for Her Science Fiction Novels)
Octavia Butler
5
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States
Died: February 24, 2006

One of the finest African-American sci-fi authors, Octavia Butler was raised single-handedly by her widowed mother. Best known for the Patternist series and the short story Bloodchild, she often mingled mythology and spirituality in her work. She was the first sci-fi author to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

 8 
N. K. Jemisin
(Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer Known for Her 'Inheritance' Trilogy)
N. K. Jemisin
5
Birthdate: September 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa, United States

N. K. Jemisin became the first writer to win the Hugo Best Novel award thrice consecutively and is best known for her Inheritance trilogy and her Broken Earth series. The African-American author is also a trained psychologist and has worked as a counsellor in several universities.

 9 
Janet Mock
(Writer & Transgender Activist Know for Her Debut Book, The Memoir Redefining Realness, Became a New York Times Bestseller)
Janet Mock
4
Birthdate: March 10, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
 10 
Judy Smith
(Crisis manager)
Judy Smith
3
Birthdate: October 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 11 
Sister Souljah
4
Birthdate: January 28, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, United States
 12 
Angie Thomas
(Novelist)
Angie Thomas
4
Birthdate: March 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
3
Birthdate: June 27, 1872
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died: February 9, 1906
 14 
Claude McKay
(Writer)
Claude McKay
3
Birthdate: September 15, 1889
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Clarendon Parish
Died: May 22, 1948

Claude McKay was a poet who played an influential role in the Harlem Renaissance. Remembered for his work If We Must Die, a poem written in response to mob attacks on African-American communities by white Americans, McKay was named the national poet of Jamaica in 1977. For his contribution to literature, he was posthumously honored with the Order of Jamaica.

 15 
Colson Whitehead
4
Birthdate: March 11, 1969
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York (state) New York, U.S.
 16 
John Ridley
(Screenwriter)
John Ridley
3
Birthdate: 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
 17 
Stuart Hall
(British Marxist Sociologist, Cultural Theorist, and Political Activist)
Stuart Hall
4
Birthdate: February 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: February 10, 2014

Jamaican-British Marxist sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall is remembered as a pioneering figure of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. A skilled academic, he was also the founding-editor of the New Left Review. His encoding and decoding model remains one of his most remarkable contributions to culture studies.

 18 
Oscar Micheaux
3
Birthdate: January 2, 1884
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Metropolis, Illinois, United States
Died: March 25, 1951
 19 
Yaa Gyasi
(Novelist)
Yaa Gyasi
4
Birthdate: 1989 AD
Birthplace: Mampong, Ghana
 20 
Ben Okri
(Distinguished Nigerian Poet and Novelist Who Won Booker Prize for His Novel ‘The Famished Road’)
Ben Okri
4
Birthdate: March 15, 1959
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Minna, Nigeria
 21 
Edwidge Danticat
(Novelist and Short Story Writer Known for Her Books: ‘Breath, Eyes, Memory’, ‘Krik? Krak!’ and ‘Everything Inside’)
Edwidge Danticat
3
Birthdate: January 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Apparently, Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat, known for books such as Breath, Eyes, Memory, had begun writing to escape the bullying she faced because of her Haitian ways after she moved to the U.S. as a young girl. Although her parents wanted her to study medicine, she took up French literature.

 22 
Nella Larsen
(American Novelist Who is Considered as the Most Important Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance)
Nella Larsen
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 30, 1964

Nella Larsen was an American novelist who also worked as a librarian and nurse. Among her literary work were her novels, Quicksand and Passing; the latter was adapted into a film of the same name in 2021. Larsen's work has gained renewed interest since the 20th century. Today, she is recognized as the most important novelist of the Harlem Renaissance.

 23 
Buchi Emecheta
(Novelist)
Buchi Emecheta
3
Birthdate: July 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yaba Department
Died: January 25, 2017
 24 
Bebe Moore Campbell
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: November 27, 2006
 25 
Ishmael Reed
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
 26 
Ousmane Sembène
(Senegalese film director)
Ousmane Sembène
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ziguinchor, Casamance, Senegal
Died: June 9, 2007
 27 
Chester Himes
3
Birthdate: July 29, 1909
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jefferson City, Missouri,United States
Died: November 12, 1984
 28 
Jacqueline Woodson
0
Birthdate: February 12, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
 29 
Ernie Barnes
(Artist)
Ernie Barnes
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina, United States
Died: April 27, 2009
 30 
Tayeb Salih
(Sudanese Writer Best Known for His Novel 'Season of Migration to the North')
Tayeb Salih
2
Birthdate: July 12, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Al Dabbah, Sudan
Died: February 19, 2009

One of the most influential Sudanese authors, Tayeb Salih was born into a farming community and had thus aspired to work in agriculture. However, he became a journalist later and worked with al Majalla and BBC. His works such as The Wedding of Zein mirror the intricacies of African life.

 31 
E. R. Braithwaite
3
Birthdate: June 27, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Georgetown, Guyana
Died: December 12, 2016
 32 
Gabriel Okara
(Nigerian Novelist and Poet Who was the First Poet of Anglophone African Origin to Embrace Modernism)
Gabriel Okara
2
Birthdate: April 24, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Eastern Region, Nigeria
Died: March 25, 2019
Gabriel Okara was a Nigerian novelist and poet best remembered for his experimental novel, The Voice. Over the course of his career, Okara won several prestigious awards such as the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Nigeria Prize for Literature. Nicknamed the Nigerian Negritudist, Gabriel Okara was the first poet of Anglophone African origin to embrace modernism.
 33 
Charles W. Chesnutt
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: November 17, 1932
 34 
Nuruddin Farah
(Novelist)
Nuruddin Farah
2
Birthdate: November 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Baidoa

Nuruddin Farah is a Somali novelist best known for his book, From a Crooked Rib. Widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of his generation, Farah has received several prestigious awards, such as the Kurt Tucholsky Prize, Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and Lettre Ulysses Award. Nuruddin Farah has also received several nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature. 

 35 
Maryse Condé
(Novelist)
Maryse Condé
2
Birthdate: February 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe
 36 
E. Lynn Harris
2
Birthdate: June 20, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Flint, Michigan, United States
Died: July 23, 2009
 37 
Helen Oyeyemi
0
Birthdate: December 10, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ibadan, Nigeria
 38 
John Edgar Wideman
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 39 
Stanley Crouch
(Musician, Novelist, Writer, Music critic, Journalist)
Stanley Crouch
3
Birthdate: December 14, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles
 40 
Yasmina Khadra
(One of the Most Popular Algerian Novelists in the World)
Yasmina Khadra
2
Birthdate: January 10, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kénadsa

Yasmina Khadra is an Algerian author who writes in French. Khadra has published his novels in over 50 countries and is widely regarded as one of the most popular Algerian novelists in the world. Some of his novels have been adapted into films. Yasmina Khadra is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Henri Gal Literature Grand Prize.

 41 
Toni Cade Bambara
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 9, 1995
 42 
Gloria Naylor
(Novelist)
Gloria Naylor
2
Birthdate: January 25, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: September 28, 2016
 43 
Mariama Bâ
(Writer)
Mariama Bâ
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dakar, Senegal
Died: August 17, 1981
 44 
June Jordan
2
Birthdate: July 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: June 14, 2002
 45 
Colville Young
(2nd Governor-General of Belize)
Colville Young
0
Birthdate: November 20, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Belize City, Belize
 46 
Edward P. Jones
(Novelist)
Edward P. Jones
2
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 47 
Wallace Thurman
(Novelist)
Wallace Thurman
2
Birthdate: August 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Died: December 22, 1934
 48 
Amos Tutuola
(Nigerian Writer Who Wrote in English)
Amos Tutuola
2
Birthdate: June 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Abeokuta, Nigeria
Died: June 8, 1997
Amos Tutuola was a Nigerian writer who wrote his novels in English. Many of his works were influenced by the folk tales of the Yoruba people. Amos Tutuola is credited with co-founding The Mbari Club, a centre for cultural activity.
 49 
Caryl Phillips
(Novelist, Playwright and Essayist)
Caryl Phillips
2
Birthdate: March 13, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Kitts, Saint Kitts and Nevis
 50 
Ayi Kwei Armah
2
Birthdate: October 28, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Takoradi, Ghana