- Written By 10Melanin Team
10 Black Bookclubs IRL + Online
Reading is not only a great source of information, where we can learn about Black leaders, activists and history, but also a vital form of much needed escapism, where we can lose ourselves into the amazing imaginative minds of Black non-fiction writers. It's important to highlight specifically Black authors because they write with us in mind, and therefore we can begin to see ourselves represented in the past, present, and most importantly the future. Bookclubs are not only a great way to discuss and find out about Black authors but also a fun way to socialise and meet like minded people. The bookclubs in this list have created communities both online and offline and for new and old readers to join and discuss books, while placing Black culture at the forefront.
10. Sistah Scifi
Sistah Sci-fi is a platform that aims to uplift literature written by Black women, specifically writers from the Sci-Fi genre. They host a wide range of events that include bookclub meet ups, watch parties and pop up shops. Alongside the events, there is an online store where Afrofuturism fans can purchase books from familiar authors such as Octavia E. Butler and Nalo Hopkinson, along with some new comers such as Akwaeke Emezi.
The only bookclub on this list that is specifically designed with Black and queer people in mind, OKHA creates a safe space for those who share a love of a literature. Each meet up focuses on a different book by an African, Caribbean or Afro-Latinx writer, shining light on works you might not know about otherwise. To make reading as accessible as possible OKHA are also able to provide you the book to read before and the event its self is free.
8. Literary Swag Book Club
Literary Swag Book Club
Dubbed 'Brooklyn's best dressed book club', Literary Swag Book Club is not your average book club. Founded by Yahdon Israel in 2015, LSBC is a community where people with various experiences, ideas, and cultural backgrounds, come to talk to one another through a mutual love of books and a respect for the people who read them. The club is members only but you can join for a $50 monthly membership fee covers the cost of the book and the tickets to the event, which occur the last Wednesday of every month.
7. Mocha Girls Read
After searching the internet for bookclubs, finding two and joining them, Alysia Allen was disappointed to find that she was the only African-American woman in both groups. So she took matters into her own hand and Mocha Girls Read was born, a monthly meet up for Black women based in the Los Angeles area to socialise and read books all types of books. MGR takes pride in catering for all types of Black women, so regardless of your age you'll fit in here.
6. Black Girl Book Club
Black Girl Book Club is a biweekly podcast / bookclub where roommates and best friends Jordan and Lauren come together to discuss their readings. Each month they choose a book written by, for, or about women of colour and use it as a basis to discuss their own lives as young Black women. Join the conversation both online (with their podcast and social media) and offline (at their events such as brunches and the BGBC literary festival) for conversations about race, gender and pop culture.
5. Books N Bros
Founded by Sidney Keys III, who was just 10 years old when he created Books n Bros, after visiting a Black children's bookstore called Eyeseeme. He was amazed by all the books made for boys like him and saw an opportunity to share these books in the form of a bookclub, while at the same time he found it empowering and a form of social justice. Books N Bros has since grown from 7 members to reaching over 400 internationally, participated in 3 fellowships and given over $15,000 in resources back to local communities. Now also a subscription service, allowing it to be accessible to homes all over America.
4. Black Men Book Club
Founded in Detroit, Michigan by Jordan Coin Jackson, Black Men Book Club was created as a way to empower and uplight men through reading. Jackson believes that knowledge is power so the book club supplies men with content that both inspires and educates. As knowledge is a crucial part of success, BMBC promotes books that represent this, some of the types you books you will find here will be, self help, Black history and biographies written by successful Black men. With over 14,000 followers on Facebook, BMBC has been an important place to stay up to date with books that specifically Black men will enjoy.
3. Well Read Black Girl
Founded by writer and entrepreneur Glory Edim, Well Read Black Girl started as t-shirt her boyfriend had printed for her, she noticed the attention she was receiving and often found people asking her what she's reading at the moment and in 2015, the instagram was born. Over the last 5 years WRBG has manifested into a multi-faceted platform for Black girl readers, now offering not just an online book club through instagram, but a festival, IRL book clubs, a journal and a store.
2. Noname Book Club
Noname Book Club
This bookclub was founded in the most internet age fashion, back in 2019, Rapper Noname tweeted " Tryna see something. Retweet this if you would be a member of Noname’s Book Club." and after receiving over 5k retweets, the bookclub was born. It has since gained over 150K followers on twitter and is dedicated to bringing awareness to authors of colour and the LGBT community. While NBC has huge presence online, it has also developed a strong offline presence too, offering a safe and inviting space for anyone who wants to talk books with meet ups all over the US and even one in London.
1. Oprah's Book Club
Oprah Winfrey's bookclub was founded over 2 decades ago in 1996, making this the oldest bookclub on the list. It all began on her iconic TV talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show where Winfrey used to highlight her favourite books for viewers to read and discuss each month. Due to the huge platform Winfrey has she has managed to turn unknown authors and titles into bestsellers just by her recommendation. Since the end of her TV show, the bookclub has not slowed down and now continues on social media, through pretty much all platforms such as instagram, apple podcast, youtube and more.