Raven Leilani is an American author who debuted in 2020 with the release of Luster: A Novel. That book was named as a Best Book of the Year by numerous publications including NPR, O Magazine, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Glamour, The New York Times Book Review, Buzzfeed, and Time.

Leilani is actually her pen name as her full name is actually Raven Leilani Baptiste. She grew up in New York, first in the Bronx and later in Albany, in a family of artists. She studied English and psychology in college, graduation in 2012. She held many jobs before becoming an author including working for the US Department of Defense and as a delivery person for Postmates in Washington, D.C. Raven has a background as a visual artist which influences her writing along with her life experiences, poetry, and a love of comic books and music.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Luster (2020)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price

If You Like Raven Leilani Books, You’ll Love…

Luster: A Novel sees Edie stumbling her way through her twenties, living in an apartment in Bushwick and making a series of inappropriate choices. She has an art that is simmering inside of her which she is haltingly, fitfully giving heat and air to. One day meets Eric, a digital archivist, who is in an open marriage. That open marriage has rules which has Edie navigating the constantly shifting landscapes of contemporary sexual manners and racial politics. When she finds herself unemployed, she is invited to Eric’s home by Eric’s wife. There, she becomes a hesitant ally to his wife and somewhat of a role model to their adopted daughter, Akila as Edie finds that she may be the only black woman that the young girl knows. Raven Leilani’s debut novel is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life in an increasingly tumultuous era.

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