#Blogtober Day 3: Celebrating Black Authors This Black History Month

Hi | Hola | こんにちは | Welcome to EmilySaidHello.

Day three of #Blogtober and I am only now deeping the challenge that I have set myself. With loads that I need to schedule ahead of all the days that I’m going to be busy this week, I’m desperately trying to find the motivation to get to writing.

It can get hard to balance full time work, writing and socialising. It’s really important that we always strive for balance and that we find ways to indulge in self care to recuperate. Sundays, for me, are always a self care day and today was spent deep cleaning my flat, lighting some candles and incense and watching old episodes of Don’t Tell The Bride. I’m hoping that this is enough to push me through and get ahead of my #Blogtober scheduling.

With my little monologue out the way let’s get into one of the posts that I have been most excited to write for #Blogtober.

Here in the UK it is currently Black History Month, I know that for some readers this may fall in a different month. The reason that the UK holds this in October has historical importance. Black History Month, in the UK, was first celebrated in October 1987 and was coincidentally the 150th anniversary of Caribbean emancipation, the 25th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity and the centenary of the birth of Marcus Garvey – a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator.

I have combined Sunday Book Club and Black History Month to celebrate Black Authors that we can all read and celebrate. Not just during Black History Month but continuously.

Malorie Blackman

I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about Malorie Blackman. If you follow me on social media then you’ll know how much of a fan that I am. I own almost every book she has ever written from Pig Heart Boy all the way through to her recent release Endgame. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her on tour for Crossfire where she talks about her inspirations for writing that book as well as the acclaimed Noughts and Crosses series. I won’t embarrass myself by detailing how much I fangirled over my signed copy of Crossfire,

She is a childhood favourite and I am certain that no matter how old I get, Malorie Blackman will always been one of my favourite authors. The themes of her work are universally important.

Malorie Blackman is a British writer who held the position of Children’s Laureate from 2013 to 2015 and primarily writes literature and television drama aimed at children and young adults. Her critically and popularly acclaimed Noughts and Crosses series uses the setting of a fictional dystopia to explore racism and now has a BBC TV Adaptation.

She also became the first person of colour writer to work on Doctor Who.

With over 60 books published, you’d be hard pressed not to find one that you would enjoy.

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is an American author of books aimed at children and adolescents and is best known for Miracle’s Boys, and her award winning titles Brown Girl DreamingAfter Tupac and D FosterFeathers, and Show Way.

Woodson served as the Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017, was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in 2018–19 and in 2020 she was name a MacArthur Fellow – unofficially known as the Genius Grant.

There have been attempts to censor some of the work that Woodson has created based on homosexuality, child abuse and harsh language. Woodson has defended these claims by stating that her books use very little ‘harsh words’. In my opinion, any book that America attempts to subject to censorship ends up being a classic – food for thought perhaps? Motivation to read the incredible works published by Woodson? Absolutely.

Brandon Taylor

Brandon Taylor, an American Author, is known for his debut publication Real Life, which has reached acclaim and has been named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, The National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize and the 2021 Young Lions Fiction Award.

Brandon Taylor also writes short stories and essays that are available in multiple publications.

Taylor’s debut novel has been sitting on my to be read list for a while now, mostly because I am poor and can’t afford to do huge book hauls. However, I recently bought a kindle so one of these days I’m going to purchase the ebook. I also think that I saw mention of Kid Cudi being involved in the film/tv rights which is amazing news.

Benjamin Zephaniah

Another one of my absolute personal favourites is the incredibly talented Benjamin Zephaniah who also happens to be from my hometown and pretty damn close to where I grew up. Zephaniah has nicknamed where he was born and raised as the “Jamaican capital of Europe”

Benjamin Zephaniah is a British writer and dub poet, that was named in The Times list of Britain’s top 50 post-war writers back in 2008.

Zephaniah in his personal life is involved with various lanes of activism including anti-racism work, pro-Palestine support and standing against homophobia in Jamacia.

I highly recommend starting with his novel Refugee Boy which is one of my personal faves.

Maya Angelou

This list would not be complete without a nod to the incomparable Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist and published 7 autobiographies, multiple essays, several books of poetry and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.

In her lifetime she received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings brought her international recognition and acclaim.

I hope that this list inspires you to consciously think about the media that you consume and to support voices in writing that aren’t always celebrated – i.e POC/ LGBTQ+ / Women writers who can sometimes be pushed to the side.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post and I will be seeing you all again tomorrow!


Em x


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