In Reading Color

Celebrate Pride with These New Queer BIPOC Books!

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

Romance readers rejoice! Black romance queen Beverly Jenkins has had her series Blessings optioned by NBC/Universal Television. With the success of Bridgerton, I’m surprised diverse romance books haven’t been adapted yet. Hopefully, there will be more to come.

In more book news, the 2024 Lambda Award winners have been announced, and here’s a great article on Vashti Harrison, who became the first Black woman to receive the Randolph Caldecott Medal in January.

For today’s books, I wanted to revel in Pride a bit more. The books below span a variety of genres and show a multitude of queer experiences.

cover of The Emperor and the Endless Palace; wildly colorful illustration of mountains, oceans, clouds, trees, a dragon, and a large jungle cat

The Emperor and the Endless Palace by Justinian Huang

Across multiple timelines and lives, two men are reborn, each life proving to them the eternity of love. A young emperor gets seduced by a courtier in 4 BCE, an innkeeper helps a mysterious visitor in 1740, and a college student meets an intriguing stranger in modern-day L.A.

cover of Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi

Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi

The bestselling, award-winning Nigerian author is back with a story of how everything can go wrong in just one weekend. It all starts with a breakup: Aima calls it quits when she realizes Kalu is not going to marry her. In an effort to self-medicate, Kalu decides to go to his friend Ahmed’s sex party, and man is that a bad idea. Soon, the three of them — plus two sex workers they meet who are visiting from Kuala Lumpur — are thrust into the gritty underbelly of Lagos, Nigeria, with its corruption, sex, lies, and murder.

cover of Rakesfall by Vajra Chandrasekera

Rakesfall by Vajra Chandrasekera

In this standalone sci-fi novel, Annelid and Leveret meet and are bound forever by what happened in a wood full of demons. And, when I say “forever,” I mean that literally, because their souls find each other no matter the era. But it’s not easy. Each time they’re reborn, they have to overcome new obstacles, their lives — and love — eternally shaped by others.

Honestly, between this and The Emperor and the Endless Palace, I’m starting to think that if they’re not traversing timelines and rebirth, do they really even love you?

cover of Coexistence: Stories by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Coexistence by Billy-Ray Belcourt

In each of these stories, Belcourt dips in and out of various versions of modern Indigenous life — a man newly freed from prison contends with the heaviness of freedom, a professor is haunted by a ghost nun, and a mother calls out to her departed son in grief.

cover of Just Another Epic Love Poem by Parisa Akhbari

Just Another Epic Love Poem by Parisa Akhbari

Starting when they were 13, besties Mitra Esfahani and Bea Ortega have kept The Book — a worn Moleskine notebook that holds stanzas on stanzas of an epic, never-ending poem. The Book has always been a place where either girl can fully express herself and work through her issues — from Mitra’s feelings surrounding her absentee mother to Bea’s breakup. Except this one thing. Mitra is in love with Bea and that could change everything.

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More of the Best New BIPOC Books Out This Week

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