Afrofuturism (def): “a movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of Black history and culture.”
Originating in the mid to late 1990s, Afrofuturism takes particular care to explore the intersection of African/African Diaspora culture with technology. And if you’re only learning about it now, you have one movie to thank for that: “Black Panther.” Since that movie came out the interest and attention to Afrofuturism
has exploded. Naturally, that can mean only one thing – time to read.
For a lot of librarians, books with Afrofuturism elements in them have existed for a long time, but we often didn’t know what to call them. I am a children’s librarian, and back when I encountered Nancy Farmer’s 1994 novel “The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm,” set in 2194 Zimbabwe, it was wholly new to me. Of course the biggest authors to make use of the genre are Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler, with newer writers joining them, like Nnedi Okorafor, N. K. Jemisin and Rivers Solomon.
Interested in exploring these books? The time has never been better. Here’s a reading list to help you start. Remember, all of these titles are available at Evanston Public Library.

Happy Reading!

“Parable of the Sower”
by Octavia E. Butler

“Aye, and Gomorrah”
by Samuel R. Delany

“Prey of Gods”
by Nicky Drayden

“My Soul to Keep”
by Tananarive Due

by Peter F. Hamilton

“Brown Girl in the Ring”
by Nalo Hopkinson

“The Root”
by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun

“The Fifth Season”
by N.K. Jemisin

by Nnedi Okorafor

by Nisi Shawl

“An Unkindness of Ghosts”
by Rivers Solomon

Short Stories
“Dark Matter: Reading the Bones”
by Sheree Renée Thomas

Children’s Novels
“The Ear, the Eye and the Arm”
by Nancy Farmer

Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library. She has been writing for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.