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UPDATED: 1:30 a.m. ET, Sept. 6, 2021

One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic cannot cancel is National Read A Book Day, the annual observance that encourages people to consume literature the old-fashioned way, even if that means reading a Kindle online.

And just when we could really benefit from visiting family or friends, we are instead being asked to stay inside and limit in-person interactions. So what can you do to feed your soul during this extended period of social distancing?

MORE: 50 Books Every Black Teen Should Read

We invite you to take time to pause and seek comfort in a good book. Consider a daily routine in which you allocate 15 minutes per day to read a few pages of a new novel or reread a literary favorite. Consider scheduling your reading sessions around a daily routine such as after lunch or at bedtime. If you can, consider taking a break from your technologically-filled day by reading an actual printed book. If you prefer to read from your portable device, please make sure to turn off all notifications so that you can read in peace.

For those who want to learn more about a particular subject or issues affecting Black communities, books are a rich resource. Some of today’s most notable writers draw inspiration from real life, tackling issues such as racism, violence, sexism in ways that spark revelatory moments.

With that said, here are 15 of some of the most creative, knowledgeable and powerful Black writers whose stories have made a strong impression on readers all over the world.

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an award-winning author who grew up in Nigeria, has written multiple novels and was influenced by writers like Chinua Achebe. Much of her work centers on and tells stories about life in Nigeria. Some of her works include “Half of a Yellow Sun,” which won the PEN American Center Award, “Purple Hibiscus“, and “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.”

2. Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is an American author and journalist. As a national correspondent of The Atlantic, Coates became known for his writings about social, political, and cultural issues, especially as they relate to African Americans and white supremacy. 

As a non-fiction writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 book “Between the World and Me” is written as a letter to his teenage son about what is means to be black in the United States. The publication would go on to win the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Other books written by Coates include “The Beautiful Struggle” (2009) and
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy” (2017). 

In 2019, Ta-Nehisi Coates published his first fiction novel, “The Water Dancer.” 

3. Angie Thomas

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Making her literary debut in 2017  at the age of 29, Angie Thomas is proving to be a growing force in Young Adult Fiction. Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Angie Thomas grew up in a surrounded by racism, drug dealing and gun violence. It would be these childhood memories that would shape her first fiction novel “The Hate U Give.” Two years later, Thomas published her second young adult novel “On the Come Up,” about a sixteen-year old female rapper aspiring to become an underground hip-hop phenomenon. 

4. Michael Eric Dyson

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5. Tayari Jones

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6. Cornel West

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7. Michelle Alexander

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8. Janet Mock

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9. Kiese Laymon

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10. Jesmyn Ward


11. Jericho Brown

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12. Jacqueline Woodson

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13. Colson Whitehead

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14. Terry McMillan

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15. James Baldwin

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