To celebrate Black History Month, Three Rooms Press wants to bring forward the compelling novels, essays, and short stories written by Black authors that might have gone under your radar! Check out the authors and books below, or head over to the collection on our store for Black History Month HERE.
Gary Phillips has been a community activist, labor organizer and delivered dog cages. He’s published various novels, comics, short stories and edited several anthologies including South Central Noir and the Anthony award-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir. Violent Spring, first published in 1994 was named in 2020 one of the essential crime novels of Los Angeles. He was also a writer/co-producer on FX’s Snowfall (streaming on Hulu), about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central where he grew up. Recent novels include One-Shot Harry and Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem. He lives with his family in the wilds of Los Angeles.
Noir meets diverse voices and transforms the genre into an over-the-top, transcendental psychedelic thriller ride of pulpy goodness in THE OBAMA INHERITANCE: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir. The collection is curated by editor and award-winning crime novelist and activist Gary Phillips, and includes stories by Walter Mosley, Robert Silverberg, Nisi Shawl, Kate Flora, Christopher Chambers and more!
Award-winning author, screenwriter, and editor Gary Phillips gathers his most thrilling, outlandish, and madcap pulp fiction in an 17-story collection that straddles the line between bizarro, science fiction, noir, and superhero classics. Aztec vampires, astral projecting killers, oxygen stealing bombs, undercover space rangers, aliens occupying Los Angeles, right wing specters haunting the ’hood, masked vigilantes and mad scientists in their underground lairs plotting world domination populate the stories in this rip-snorting collection. In these pages grindhouse melds with blaxploitation along with strong doses of B movie hardcore drive-in fare.
Vanessa Baden Kelly
Vanessa Baden Kelly is an Emmy-winning actress, Emmy-nominated writer, and producer. She began her career as a child, starring on Nickelodeon’s Gullah Gullah Island and Kenan and Kel. After departing entertainment, she began organizing in college, co-founding the Student Coalition for Justice (later the base for the Dream Defenders) and continued working in the field. To date, she has led campaigns for The Trayvon Martin Foundation, Community Coalition South LA, and various political campaigns including Obama for America ’08 and the Ndoum Presidential Campaign in Accra, Ghana. Additionally, she is an Ambassador for the RuJohn Foundation. Upon her return to Hollywood, Vanessa has become a successful television writer and producer, writing for shows such as TNT’s Animal Kingdom and Mindy Kaling’s HBO Max series The Sex Lives of College Girls. Vanessa originated the role of Journee as writer/star of the Issa Rae digital series Giants, where she is four times Emmy-nominated and one time Emmy-winning for Best Actress in a Digital Drama. Vanessa is mother to a human son, Ryder, and a dog son named Dude.
Through a series of extraordinary, incisive, often-humorous and always profound essays, Vanessa Baden Kelly examines what “home” means to a Black millennial woman. What are the consequences of gentrification on the life of a young Black woman, and on her ability to raise a family? What does it mean to be part of a lineage, whether it be passed down by name or through the voices of generations of writers and thinkers? Baden’s essays evolve from personal stories to fully-realized communiques of a generation of Black women who are finding a new sense of both belonging and ostracism in private, work, and public life.
Ebele Chizea was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States at age sixteen. Since graduating with honors in 2004 from Thiel Colege in Greenville, PA, she has published fiction, poetry, and essays in various publications including The African, The Sentinel, The Nigerian Punch, Sahara Reporter, as well as her own online publication, Drumtide Magazine, which featured interviews with prominent figures in the entertainment and literary fields including Afro-punk pioneer Lunden DeLeon, afrobeat musician Seun Kuti, and award-winning Nigerian Belgian novelist, Chika Unigwe. She is the author of How to Slay in Life: A Book of Proverbial Wisdom. She currently lives in Santa Monica, CA.
In Nigerian-American Ebele Chizea’s stunning debut novel, teenager Ada and her mother flee the civil war of their West African home and come to America in 1966, where Ada soon discovers—and blossoms within—the US counterculture movement, developing a drive for anti-war activism which she takes with her back to Nabuka only to uncover new truths about herself as well as family secrets that threaten to shatter her plans for the future.
Christopher Chambers is a crime novelist, professor of media studies, lawyer, and International Fellow at International Conflict Resolution Center. His previous works include the first Dickie Cornish mystery, Scavenger, as well as A Prayer for Deliverance and Sympathy for the Devil (NAACP Image Award nominee); the graphic anthology (with Gary Phillips) The Darker Mask; the PEN/Malamud-nominated story “Leviathan,” and more. Professor Chambers is a regular commentator/contributor on media and culture issues on SiriusXM Radio, ABC News, and HuffPost. He resides in his hometown of Washington, D.C. with his family and German Shepherd, Max.
Dickie Cornish Mystery Series
Dickie Cornish, a street-wise neophyte Black sleuth, must learn to navigate a high stakes game of greed, deceit, and murder in a perilous Washington, D.C. world of unscrupulous politicians and desperate street hustlers where everything is on the line.
In SCAVENGER, the forthcoming novel from Christopher Chambers street-wise survivor Dickie Cornish lives in a homeless camp near the Smithsonian’s Museum of National History. Addled by the K2 and liquor he prays will blunt the pain of a harsh winter, he endures the cruelty of Donald Trump’s capital and ongoing nightmares from his youth. He makes a few dollars a day turning the possessions of evicted tenants into curb flotsam, scavenging what he can from the wreckage of other lives to save his.
It’s been over year since that bleak Christmas when a rich man peeled homeless, drug-addled Dickie Cornish from a steam grate, cleaned him up, and convinced him to use his street connections to track down his missing property. Now, as the summer sun bakes those same mean streets, the air is thick with crime, contagion, and corruption. Dickie struggles with sobriety, anti-psychotic meds, and counseling at the VA, but manages to make a meager living as a private investigator with his sidekick, “Stripe”—until an ex-con named Al-Mayadeen Thomas sticks a gun to Dickie’s forehead and kidnaps him to a grim flophouse—a motel filled with squatters more desperate than the poor souls in the shelters.
James Carr evolved from being one of the most notorious rebels in the California penal system of the 50s and 60s as leader of the infamous Wolf Pack to a comrade of famed Soledad Brother George Jackson and early member of the Black Panthers. Carr was murdered April 6th, 1972 outside his home in San Jose, CA.
with an introduction by Gia Carr & afterword by Betsy Hammer Carr
BAD: The Autobiography of James Carr, is the harrowingly brutal and unapologetic story of the notorious African-American career criminal who went straight out of Compton to a reformatory after burning down his school at the age of 10. Originally released in 1972, BAD remains a harsh indictment of the American penal system and a primer for the seeds of institutionalized racism in this country. Bustle notes, “Not for the faint of heart, Bad: The Autobiography of James Carr depicts just how impossible escaping the cycle of systemic violence really can become.” And lawyer and social justice activist Sean, writing on his Milo and the Calf blog, raves, “I’ve read scores of memoirs from radical political activists. This one, by James Carr, is among the best.”
Robert grew up in Belle Glade, Florida, the eldest of five children, and earned a B.S. in History from Florida A&M. In 2007, he moved to New York City in search of his muse, Langston Hughes. Gibbons has studied with such master poets as Cornelius Eady, Marilyn Nelson, Klmiko Hahn and Nathalie Handal, and has participated in workshops at Cave Canem and the 92Y. His work has been published in numerous anthologies, including The Brownstone Poets Anthology, Dinner with the Muse (Ra Rays Press), The Cartier Street Review, Nomad’s Choir, and Maintenant 6: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Art & Literature (Three Rooms Press). His poetry may also be heard on the CD Brain Ampin’ (Logo Chrysalis Productions).
The first full-length poetry collection by Robert Gibbons, an African-American poet with a lyrical style whose work focuses on issues of social inequality, love, loss and family. According to author Leokadia Durmaj, “Robert paints so many different shades of colors in his writing, it becomes an art exhibit.” Art curator and historian Marc Primus notes, “The poetry of Robert Gibbons flows from him like a mighty river. It is powerful lyrical, strong and hip.” And teacher/author Miriam Hipsh remarks, “Mr. Gibbons’ poetry is breathtaking in its imagery. His words paint a heart-wrenching canvas and haunt the reader with deeply emotional truth-telling.” Gibbons grew up in Belle Glade, Florida, the eldest of five children, and earned a B.S. in History from Florida A&M. In 2007, he moved to New York City in search of his muse, Langston Hughes. CLOSE TO THE TREE reflects much of what he’s found along the way.