6 books by authors of color I’m looking forward to in 2016

Posted February 5, 2016 by Renae // 3 Comments

As we all know, I’m not much of a reader of new releases. Not in any timely sense. But I do keep an eye on what books are releasing, and today I thought I’d share some 2016 publications I’m looking forward to that are written by authors of color. (If you’re new to the blog, you can read about why racial/ethnic diversity in fiction is so important to me—important enough that I dedicate weeks at a time to celebrating diverse voices.)

These titles are all from the first half of 2016, so I might come back with a post covering books that are being released after July of this year.



The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel
— May 3, 2016 by Grove Press

  • Why: For one thing, please note the Roxane Gay endorsement on the cover. Mighty tempting, that. Also, this book is about Latinos and family and crisis of identity and guilt and all that good stuff that is basically my life in a nutshell. I also love that this book spans across Latin America and tells a “Pan-American” story.

Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue
— February 9, 2016 by Riverhead

  • Why: Read that jacket copy and then come back to me. I’ll wait. Yeah, does this not sound incredible? I totally wish it was cost effective for me to read this untranslated, but unfortunately the US publishing world is not interested in letting me read Latino authors in their native language. I’ll make do with English, of course. The book sounds incredible either way.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
— June 7, 2016 by Knopf

  • Why: This is a story about two 19th century Ghanian women and how their lives are vastly different but also how they intersect. Again, family stories are my favorite thing, and historical fiction is my all-time favorite. I’ve definitely been trying to consume more fiction by African writers from countries outside of my experience (i.e. not Nigerians or Egyptians). This novel definitely offers a perspective different that what one typically finds.

What Is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
— March 8, 2016 by Riverhead

  • Why: Obviously, I want to read this because it’s Helen Oyeyemi, author of one of my favorite books ever. Her prose and insight on race are always brilliant and spot-on and deeply thought-provoking. Also her prose is gorgeous. Seriously.

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel
— March 1, 2016 by Sourcebooks Landmark

  • Why: Historical fiction! Royal intrigue! Concubines using their brains and looks to become powerful! These things are all my jam and I’m very okay with all of my favorite historical tropes going on a roadtrip to 7th century China. (This novel is about Wu Zetian, in case this was not made clear.)

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
— April 19, 2016 by Roaring Brook Press

  • Why: A racially diverse coming of age story featuring queer characters and investigations into the paranormal. Yes. I am so here for that. I haven’t read Tamaki’s graphic novel, This One Summer, yet, but by all accounts she’s a great author and regardless of which book of hers I read first, I’m excited.

Where any of these books on your wishlist? What other novels by authors of color are you excited about in the new year?


Renae has written book reviews and other miscellany for Respiring Thoughts since 2012. She loves dogs, Mexican food, mountains, Shakespeare, and procrastinating. She's currently working on an undergrad degree in English/Spanish lit in the Midwest. Connect with Renae on Twitter, Goodreads, and Tumblr.

Categories: Book Talks
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3 responses to “6 books by authors of color I’m looking forward to in 2016

  1. Can’t wait to hear what you think of them. Saving Montgomery Sole sounds really good! Can’t wait to read your review on it 🙂

  2. Char

    Hey Renae! I love that you are reading books with more diverse authors. I completely agree that the literature we read is often one-sided. Maybe I’ll have to check out some of these books and take on the challenge of reading books solely by non-white authors. There’s definitely the novels out there with stories waiting to be heard and we just need more people like you, encouraging multicultural literature.