So this has been a challenge. I’ve struggled – realising a little about my preferences for non-fiction and, frankly, the absolute dearth of mainstream non-fiction by POC that isn’t somehow about race or the impact of colonialism. I probably need to say that when I think of non-fiction I don’t mean self help or biography. I mean either skirting the academe or thoroughly enmeshed within it. I mean philosophy, science, mathematics, history etc.
I googled ‘author’ for the picture for this post…the entry is a white male…because of course it ****ing is. However, this isn’t a post where I rant about the racist skew of search engines. It’s not even a post where I rant about how the academe is basically skewed towards white people (men) or how we can lament how it’s easier for a white person to get commissioned to write about non-white issues than it is for those being written about. For instance, I can’t/won’t write about Henrietta Lack’s because it’s a white person who was entrusted to write her story (even if, hint, hint, you should totally read it).
I promised a list of non-white authors who wrote non-fiction I, personally, think you need to encounter. Some of this is inevitably about race and empire but much of it is not.
Man, beast and zombies by Kenan Malik
There ain’t no black in the union jack by Paul Gilroy
Life on the Edge: the coming age of quantum biology by Jim Al-Khalili
Why I stopped talking to white people about race by Renni Eddo Lodge
I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou
Orientalism by Edward Said
The Emperor of all maladies by Siddartha Mukherjee
What young India wants by Chetan Bhagat
What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami
New Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Cosmopolitanism by Kwame Anthony Appiah
Lastly, and because he had a massive impact on my life: The wretched of the earth by Franz Fanon