Monday, April 1, 2013

African American Short Story Writers

Next week AAL will be discussing Amina Gautier's short story collection, At-Risk. Gautier follows in a long tradition of African American short story artists. Short stories are a great way to get to know some of our greatest writers: Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Huston, and also a place to discover new talents. Below are 17 terrific African and African American short story collections at EPl...

Stories by Individual Authors

A Taste of Honey: Stories by Jabari Asim   (Fiction Asim.J)

In 16 related short stories, Asim (author of The N Word, which we'll be reading in October)) illustrates the connections between African-American characters living in a Midwestern town in the tumultuous late '60s. In the opening narrative, "I'd Rather Go Blind," Abari describes his community: grown men with colorful nicknames, his adolescent brothers changing before his eyes, and an emerging Black Nationalist fervor rising in his neighborhood. Asim successfully delves into politics, domestic violence, racial identity, young love, and more in this humorous and poignant collection.

Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas  (Fiction Dumas.H)
Henry Dumas's fiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture and nature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmering streets of Harlem, his characters embark on surreal and mythic quests armed only with wit, words, and wisdom. Championed by Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, and Quincy Troupe, -Dumas's books have long been out of print. All of his short fiction is collected here, for the first time, and includes several previously unpublished stories.

Before You Suffocate your Own Fool Self,  by Danielle Evans (Fiction Evans.D)
Fearless, funny, and ultimately tender, Evans's stories offer a bold new perspective on the experience of being young and African-American or mixed-race in modern-day America.

Short Stories, by Langston Hughes   (Fiction Hughe.L 2001)
This collection of forty-seven stories written between 1919 and 1963 - the most comprehensive available - showcases Langston Hughes's literary blossoming and the development of his personal and artistic concerns.  These poignant, witty, angry, and deeply poetic stories demonstrate Hughes's uncanny gift for elucidating the most vexing questions of American race relations and human nature in general.

All Aunt Hagar's Children by Edward Jones     (Fiction Jones.E)
In fourteen sweeping and sublime stories the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World, (our February book!) shows that his grasp of the human condition is firmer than ever Returning to the city that inspired his first prizewinning book, Lost in the City, Jones has filled this new collection with people who call Washington, D.C., home. Yet it is not the city's power brokers that most concern him but rather its ordinary citizens, some caught between the old ways of the South and the temptations that await them further north.With the legacy of slavery just a stone's throw away and the future uncertain, Jones's cornucopia of characters will haunt readers for years to come.

Pieces of the Hole by Tony Lindsay,       (Fiction Linds.T)
The hip-hop culture on the south side of Chicago links  stories that are otherwise very different from each other in subject and approach. Stark scenes of gang violence, drug use, and prison life are contrasted with light and humorous stories, and the grittiness of urban life is softened by the preoccupations of adolescence, the chance for romance, or the ordinary moments of family life.

The Monkey Suit and Other Short Fiction on African Americans and Justice by  David Dante Troutt  (Fiction Trout.D)
Troutt has transformed the history of ten classic legal cases involving African Americans into a collection of short fiction. He explores how fairly ordinary and simple lives are dramatically changed and complicated by the law, and how the law labels and minimizes the lives of the characters. The cases include the principal Scottsboro Boys case;  the first challenge to the constitutionality of segregation; and the case, in which warrantless searches were deemed unconstitutional.

In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black Women, by Alice Walker  (Fiction Walke.A)
Readers of Alice Walker's The Color Purple will find in these stories further evidence of her power to depict black women -- women who vary greatly in background but are bound together by their vulnerability to life: Roselily, on her wedding day, surrounded by her four children, prays that a loveless marriage will bring her respectability; a young writer, exploited by both her lover and her husband, wreaks an ironic vengeance; a jealous wife, looking for her husband's mistress, finds a competitor she cannot fight; an old woman, thrown out of a white church, meets God on a highway. These are just a few of the seekers of dignity and love whom Alice Walker portrays in this astonishing collection.

God's Gym, by John Edgar Wideman,    (Fiction Widem.J)

 In Wideman's challenging collection, he pushes the form's envelope, to increased heights of effectiveness. Weight, one of the best in the collection, assumes the shape of a segment of autobiography as the first-person narrator pays piquant tribute to the quiet strength of his mother. "Sharing" is told from the perspective of a white woman as she relates her encounter with a black neighbor--a brilliant demonstration of Wideman's versatility in adopting voices. Any reader who believes that short stories are too formulaic and constrictive for authors to truly exert their individuality should be required to experience these.

Anthologies and Themes

The African American West: A Century of Short Stories Fiction Short Stories Glasr.B

The distinguished body of short stories depicting African Americans in the western United States has long been overlooked. Rather than reproducing the racial stereotypes and condescending dialogue found in past fiction of the eastern United States, these authors portrayed black Americans seeking new lives. Ranging from early twentieth-century writers such as Charles Chesnutt to contemporary authors such as Walter Mosley, the works in The African American West demonstrate how the West, as seen through the eyes of African Americans, has evolved over the last century.

The Unforgetting Heart, An Anthology of Short Stories by African American Women, 1859-1993
edited by Asha Kanwar,   (Fiction Short Stories Kanwa.A)
 This collection of brings together an unprecedented range of beautifully crafted short stories by women that span a century and a half of African American literary tradition. The writers included here, both the famous and the less well-known, together represent the remarkable diversity of African American women's writing across class, culture and time.

Children of the Night" The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1967 to the Present, edited by Gloria Naylor      (Fiction Short Stories Naylo.G)
 Gathering together the most gifted black writers of our time - from 1967 to 1995- Naylor has assembled a rich and varied collection of stories. The portrait that emerges of the African-American experience in the post-Civil Rights era is stirring, compelling, sometimes disturbing, and certainly provocative. Naylor has arranged the stories thematically so the reader focuses on a particular subject - slavery, for example, or the family. From a young woman's struggles with her barren faith in Alice Walker's lyrical "The Diary of an African Nun" to an innocent man's involvement in a horrifying act of violence in Ann Petry's "The Witness", they are, as Naylor states in her introduction, "examples of affirmation: of memory, of history, of family, of being".

An African Quilt: 24 Modern African Storie
s                  (Paperbk Fiction Stories)
Celebrates the incredibly rich and diverse literary tradition of Africa with 24 stories
spanning the continent, from Nigeria to South Africa. Reflecting a continent with a tragic history, An African Quilt depicts a place where everyday life is extraordinary, and the continent’s history changes what it means to be a woman, an employee, a couple, a passerby, and, of course, a citizen. Revealed through the backdrop of postcolonial Africa, the struggles within these stories resonate beyond their context and appeal to every reader’s sense of what it means to be human.

Gumbo. A Celebration of African American Writing
      (Fiction Short Stories Golde.M)
A literary rent party to benefit the Hurston/Wright Foundation of African-American fiction, with selections to savor from bestselling authors as well as talented rising stars.A stellar collection of works from more than fifty hot names in fiction, Gumbo represents remarkable synergy. Edited by bestselling luminaries Marita Golden and E. Lynn Harris, this collection spans new and previously published tales of love and luck, inspiration and violation, hip new worlds and hallowed heritage from voices such as:  Edwidge Danticat  Eric Jerome Dickey Kenji Jasper John Edgar Wideman  Terry McMillan  David Anthony Durham Bertice Berry and  many more

Ebony Rising: Short Fiction of the Greater Harlem Renaissance Era      (Fiction Short Stories Gable.C)
The first comprehensive, gender-balanced collection of short fiction from the greater Harlem Renaissance era (1912--1940), a time marked by writing of extraordinary breadth and depth by some of the most famous authors in African American literary history. Among them were Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Toomer, Dorothy West, and Claude McKay. There are stories set in Harlem, but they are just as likely to take place elsewhere in the United States. Alongside traditional stories, there are examples of detective fiction, political satire, even science fiction, with a few experiments in narrative structure and form for good measure.

Mending the World: Stories of Family by Contemporary Black Writers         (810.80896 Mending)

The many facets of black family life have not always been fully visible in American literature. Black families have often been portrayed as chaotic, fractured, and emotionally devastated, and historians and sociologists are just beginning to acknowledge the resilience and strength of African American families through centuries of hardship. In Mending the World, a host of beloved writers celebrate the richness of black family life, revealing how deep, complicated, and joyous modern kinship can be.

The Sleeper Wakes: Harlem Renaissance Stories by Women           (Fiction Short Stories Knopf.M)
In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in the art and culture of the Harlem Renaissance. Yet this significant collection is the first definitive edition of Harlem Renaissance stories by women. The writers include Gwendolyn Bennett, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Angelina Weld Grimké, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and Dorothy West. Published originally in periodicals such as The Crisis , Fire!! , and Opportunity , these twenty-seven stories have until now been virtually unavailable to readers. These stories are as compelling today as they were in the 1920s and 1930s. In them, we find the themes of black and white racial tension and misunderstanding, economic deprivation, passing, love across and within racial lines, and the attempt to maintain community and uplift the race.

Streetlights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience   (Fiction Short Stories Austi.)
Editors Austin and Simmons have chosen 49 recent stories by 49 black writers that evoke 49 distinctive interpretations of city life as lived today by African Americans. These are stories about people in complicated relationships, relationships made even more difficult by the pressure, danger, and bleak
indifference of the city. The plots involve painful or significant interactions between strangers; the fears of parents raising children in cities; conflicts between grown children and parents and between divorcing spouses; racism; money troubles; the disappointments and determination of immigrants; the pipe dreams of pregnant teenagers , by proven writers, such as Bebe Moore Campbell, Terry McMillan, and Louis Edwards, as well as by lesser-known talents, particularly Steven Corbin, Carolyn Ferrell, and Jacqueline Joan Johnson.


  1. This is a new inspiration for many people. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Thanks for this list.

  3. Thanks alot for the list im copying this lol

  4. Have you heard that the great representatives of the ‘lost generation’ are Ernest Hemingway, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and T.S.Eliot? Go to american books site to read an interesting facts about American literature!