New Books October 2023

A belated (but no less warm) welcome to all our new and returning readers this term! We have had a huge range of new arrivals in the last month or two, from young adult fiction to a multitude of medieval offerings – and even a book about mermaids. However, in the wake of Black History Month coming to an end, we have picked out a range of books from Black authors that have arrived at the EFL in October. It should be noted that this is simply a jumping-off point for literature written by Black authors, and that you can find much more in the library at large – see our LibraryThing feed for more. We are also open to requests, which you can email to us until our request form opens up again – usually it is located here.

Claude Mckay, Romance in Marseille (2020)

Published posthumously nearly 90 years after it was initially written, we are introduced to Lafala. He is a West-African sailor who loses both of his lower-legs to frost-bite after being locked in a freezing room aboard the trans-Atlantic freighter he had been stowing away in. Set during the Jazz Age, we follow Lafala’s life post-amputation, delving into themes of disability, queerness, and the legacy of slavery. Romance in Marseille was considered too transgressive for its time which is why it took so long to be published, even after the death of McKay. I would, however, like to warn readers that there are some anti-Semitic instances in the novel and would suggest proceeding with care.

Eds. Mojisola Adebayo, Lynette Goddard, Black British Queer Plays and Practitioners: An Anthology of Afriquia Theatre (2023)

Next we have more queer literature by Black British authors in the form of a collection of seven plays. These radical plays explore a whole range of LGBTQ+ experiences in Black British queer theatre, taking the reader from the 1980s through to the present day. Sandwiched in-between are conversations between Black LGBTQ+ artists, who discuss how the plays featured have influenced their work, and consider how they may affect the future as well. Not to worry if you are a newcomer to the genre, however, as this edition begins with a thorough introduction which gives a great amount of socio-political context so you can get the most from each play.

Eds. Paul Field et al. Here to Stay, Here to Fight: A Race Today Anthology (2019)

Race Today was a monthly British periodical that ran between 1969-1988, considered to be the leading voice for Black politics in the UK at the time. In its contributions it drew together giants such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and many more. Well-read during its run, the publication gave unique insight into how socio-political factors such as class, race, and gender affected everything nationally and internationally. At the time of publication of the anthology, it was difficult to access Race Today, and so it was ground-breaking for anything to come of it. However, this year the entire archives were published here on The anthology is a great starting point, however, we highly encourage you to dip into the full publication as well!

Ed. Harvey Young The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre 2nd Edition (2023)

Hot off the press and newly updated from its 2012 predecessor, we have the latest and most comprehensive overview of African American theatre to date. Covering from the 1800s to the present day, this new edition includes new chapters exploring how recent political movements (such as Black Lives Matter) have affected the theatre space, and how queer identity and African American theatre intersect. This would be a great accompaniment to Black British Queer Plays and Practitioners: An Anthology of Afriquia Theatre to compare how performance art by Black creators has developed and diverged across the pond versus in Britain!

Jane Rhodes, Mary Ann Shadd Cary: The Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century (2023)

An (unfortunately) lesser known figure in North American history, Mary Ann Shadd Cary was an eminent figure in the women’s suffrage movement in America. She was the first Black North American woman to edit and publish her own newspaper (The Provincial Freeman), as well as one of the first women at Howard University to received a degree in law, and an activist, setting up a desegregated school in Canada 100 years before desegregation happened in America. If she sounds like a powerhouse, it’s because she is – and we could all do with learning a little more about her.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *