Featured Reads

Books for Discussion Projects

We at the Maine Humanities Council are excited to be diving into Afrofuturism & Africanfuturism this year, with the broad framing question What if …?.  

Black folks and other oppressed people in America and the world have been imagining creative futures that can help us ask and answer important, urgent questions about ourselves and the world we live in. Questions like: What if we all were equal? What if there were a pandemic? What if the world got warm and the oceans rose? What if … ? 

For the 2021 Discussion Project we’ve highlighted the ballot of Afrofuturist and Africanfuturist texts you voted on for Readers Retreat 2022. And we’ve put together lists of Featured Reads that engage with these questions about equity, pandemic disease, and the climate crisis from all sorts of angles…including Afrofuturist and Africanfuturist voices and visions! 

Choose any of the books, in any combination


Often one book is enough! Your group can read and discuss one book in chunks.  Or find short essays, videos, podcasts, and poems to read alongside the book.  

Why not include a book of poems?  Poems can be used in all sorts of ways to enrich your discussion sessions, even if participants are never expected to read them ahead of time. 

 Variety is the spice of a reading list! Choose readings that represent different lived experience, different voices, different times and places.  Are there readings in your list that represent voices that have been routinely excluded or ignored? Choose readings of different kinds: a novel and a memoir, for example; or a book of essays, a novel, and a picture book … and maybe also add a book of poems. Or a podcast. Or a video.