The best books by writers of colour

Ravinder Randhawa Author Of The Coral Strand
By Ravinder Randhawa

Who am I?

I’ve always loved books and reading, so it’s no surprise I’m an author and blogger. However, feeling strongly about justice and truth, I’ve also been active in the feminist and anti-racist movements. Additionally, I founded The Asian Women Writers Workshop (later known as the Asian Women Writers Collective), whose work has been archived by South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive (SADAA). I’ve been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at several British universities and am a member of PEN International. As a writer of colour (South-Asian heritage), I'm intrigued by the work of diverse writers, their interpretation and focus.  

I wrote...

The Coral Strand

By Ravinder Randhawa,

Book cover of The Coral Strand

What is my book about?

The story moves between modern Britain and the glamorous and turbulent world of 1940s Mumbai. Once a year, Sita, a young British/Asian woman, goes to spy on Emily and Champa, the ‘guardians’ she’d run away from and on whom she’d taken a daring revenge. However, this year the past has started to crack and heart-breaking secrets begin to seep out, revealing connections and a fight for survival in which taboos were broken, forbidden lines crossed, and a victim trapped. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Brown Girl Like Me: The Essential Guidebook and Manifesto for South Asian Girls and Women

Why did I love this book?

Infused with passion and empathy, this book has much to offer. Tackling topics that are taboo or misunderstood; from mental health to menstruation, love and relationships, to micro-aggressions. The writer talks honestly about her own experiences and signposts solutions that have helped her, including other women’s insights, research, and information. Lively, positive, and life-affirming, this book will speak to many.

By Jaspreet Kaur,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brown Girl Like Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You might feel that this fight is too big for you. How on earth can you dismantle so many complex, long-standing systems of oppression? My answer: piece by piece.

Brown Girl Like Me is an inspiring memoir and empowering manifesto that equips women with the confidence and tools they need to navigate the difficulties that come with an intersectional identity. Jaspreet Kaur unpacks key issues such as the media, the workplace, the home, education, mental health, culture, confidence and the body, to help South Asian women understand and tackle the issues that affect them, and help them be in the…

Book cover of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Why did I love this book?

Masterful, profoundly humane, and impeccably researched. Wilkerson creates a light-bulb moment, by taking the Indian caste system and overlaying it onto the generational subjugation of Black Americans. This book doesn’t preach – it presents: gripping our hearts with real-life stories; haunting us with the unjust laws and social practices which have ensured inequality and poverty, no matter how hard black Americans worked. A poisonous system weakening and dividing the nation. Caste profoundly changes our personal understanding of American racism. 

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Caste as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"Powerful and timely ... I cannot recommend it strongly enough" - Barack Obama

From one of America's most celebrated and insightful writers, the moving, eye-opening bestseller about what lies hidden under the surface of ordinary lives

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human…

The Return of Faraz Ali

By Aamina Ahmad,

Book cover of The Return of Faraz Ali

Why did I love this book?

A brilliant novel with more than one mystery at its heart, with more than one truth about human emotions. Beautifully written, unflinching in its depiction of corruption and cruelty; lyrical in its evocation of loss and longing, love and survival. Faraz Ali, a young Pakistani police officer is sent to Shahi Mohalla, the red-light district of Lahore, where a girl has been murdered: not to solve the crime, but to cover it up. However, Faraz Ali has his own tormented history with the Mohalla. And, unknown to him his dimly remembered sister, the beautiful and fiery Rozina, is facing the stark prospect of her own return. A fantastic read, the characters staying in the mind long after the book has been closed.

By Aamina Ahmad,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Return of Faraz Ali as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“Stunning not only on account of the author’s talent, of which there is clearly plenty, but also in its humanity.” —New York Times Book Review (cover)

Sent back to his birthplace—Lahore’s notorious red-light district—to hush up the murder of a girl, a man finds himself in an unexpected reckoning with his past.

Not since childhood has Faraz returned to the Mohalla, in Lahore’s walled inner city, where women continue to pass down the art of courtesan from mother to daughter. But he still remembers the day…

Book cover of 1984 India’s Guilty Secret

Why did I love this book?

Some events are burned into the collective psyche. In 1984 in India, the world’s largest democracy, over 8,000 people were murdered in a four-day genocidal massacre, orchestrated by the government. This book is written in a measured tone, evidenced, and filled with witness accounts. The background is explained, the events are charted, and those who gave help and shelter are included. Over the decades, few of the guilty have been brought to account. The book becomes a drumbeat for justice. 

By Pav Singh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1984 India’s Guilty Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This shocking exposé of a true-life Orwellian plot of nightmarish proportions reveals the chilling events of November 1984 following Indira Gandhi's assassination, and the cover-up by the Indian Government. For over three days, armed mobs systematically butchered, torched and raped members of the Sikh community in Delhi and other places, unchecked. The sheer scale of the killings exceeded the combined civilian death tolls of other conflicts such as Tiananmen Square and 9/11. In Delhi alone 3,000 people were killed. Thirty-three years on, the full extent of what took place has yet to be fully acknowledged. Based on victim testimonies and…

The Prosecutor

By Nazir Afzal,

Book cover of The Prosecutor

Why did I love this book?

We’ve all seen those movies about courtroom battles and a determined prosecutor, speaking up for innocent victims. In Nazir Afzal we have the real deal. Coming from a working-class, migrant family, he knows what it’s like for the powerless. As Chief Prosecutor he won milestone cases involving criminals, honour killings, domestic violence, human trafficking, and many others. This engrossing book takes us behind the scenes. Nazir Afzal is recognised as a man who changed British justice for the better. 

By Nazir Afzal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Prosecutor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The outsider who transformed our justice system

Nazir Afzal knows a thing or two about justice. As a Chief Prosecutor, it was his job to make sure the most complex, violent and harrowing crimes made it to court, and that their perpetrators were convicted. From the Rochdale sex ring to the earliest prosecutions for honour killing and modern slavery, Nazir was at the forefront of the British legal system for decades.

But his story begins in Birmingham, in the sixties, as a young boy facing racist violence and the tragic death of a young family member - and it's this…

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