Skip to Main Content

Literatures in English: Ethnic Literatures of the U.S., U.K. & Canada

This page lists sources that cover multiple periods, genres, and/or nationalities. See additional resources in the "Historical Literary Period" and "Geographical Region" pages.

Full Text Collections

The UCSD Library has acquired quite a few collections of full texts of literary works by ethnic U.S. writers and/or writers from regions from which U.S. ethnic writers trace their roots, along with other collections such as newspapers and periodicals that are not primarily literary. In general, these texts may be searched by keyword. Many of the collections also contain information about the authors, the works, their publication or performance, etc. 

African American Periodicals, 1825-1995. and African American Newspapers, 1827-1998.

African American Poetry contains nearly 3,000 poems by African American poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It provides a comprehensive survey of the early history of African American poetry, from the earliest published African American poems to the works of Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African American poet to achieve national success and recognition. For a continuation, see Twentieth-Century .... (below).*

African Writers Series. For over 40 years, Heinemann's African Writers Series published the key texts of modern African literature. It has a unique importance in the history of postcolonial writing. This online edition includes over 250 volumes of fiction, poetry, drama and non-fictional prose, including works by Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Steve Biko, Buchi Emecheta, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Doris Lessing, Nelson Mandela, Dambudzo Marechera, Christopher Okigbo, Okot p'Bitek and Tayeb Salih.*

Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922, from the Library Company of PhiladelphiaFull text of books in all subjects published by, for, or about African Americans.

Asian American Drama. Currently has 252 plays by 42 playwrights, together with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more.

Black Drama. Contains approximately 1200 plays by 200 playwrights, together with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. The database also includes selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera related to the plays. Some 440 of the plays are published here for the first time, including a number by major authors.

Black Short Fiction and Folklore: African, African American, and Diaspora Includes the texts of almost 11,700 short stories and a total of 82,000 pages of text, reproduced from books, little magazines, and archival sources.

Caribbean Literature is a searchable collection of poetry and fiction produced in the region during the 19th and 20th centuries. The titles selected by our editors are presented in the original: English, French, Spanish, Dutch, and various Creole languages. It also features dictionaries of the Creole spoken in these countries.

Latino Literature brings together more than 100,000 pages pages of poetry, fiction, and over 450 plays written in English and Spanish by hundreds of Chicano, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and other Latino authors working in the United States. Among the gems of the collection are nearly 800 items (poems, novels, and plays) that have never been published before. Researchers will also find numerous Chicano folk tales and audio files of selected poems and plays. It contains over 133,465 pages.

Twentieth-Century African-American Poetry. Coverage begins with the key writers of the early decades, continues with major figures of the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts movement of the 1960s and concludes with a considerable body of writing of the 1980s and 1990s.* 

International Index to Black Periodicals. (See box for Secondary Bibliographies). In addition to being an index, this resource contains the full texts from 1998 forward of about 90 African American periodicals.

*These are sections of Literature Online (LiON). Click here for a separate LibGuide devoted to the Literature Online database.


Although not specifically literary in nature, ethnic newspapers are extremely useful for obtaining book reviews and reviews of cultural activities, biographical information (including obituaries), notices of literary clubs, and other community information.  Some of these resources contain the full text of the newspapers; others are just indexes to them.

Ethnic News Watch. 1960-present. Full text U.S. ethnic community newspapers, newsletters, magazines. Includes African-American, Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian-Pacific, European-American, Hispanic, Jewish, Native-American. Searchable in English and Spanish.

African American Newspapers, 1828-1998. Full text, but due to the scarcity of original copies, only a few issues of some newspapers are available for digitization.

African American Newspapers. Full text of 6 newspapers: Freedom's Journal (1827-30); Colored American (1837-1841); North Star (1847-51); National Era (1847-50); Provincial Freeman (1854-55); and Frederick Douglass Paper (1851-52). Some years incomplete.

Black Historical Newspapers. Cover-to-cover article and page images of Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988), Chicago Defender (1910-1975), Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-40, 1946-2005), New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993).

Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980. See note for African American Newspapers.

Access World News. More than 1500 sources worldwide, including 650 in the U.S. Largely newspapers,local news video for the U.S.; newspapers for Canada, UK and other English-speaking countries. For the rest of the world mostly wire services, BBC news digests, etc. Dates of coverage vary -- many only go back a few decades.

Alternative Press Index. 1969-current. Citations to articles alternative, radical, and left publications in North America which report and analyze the practices and theories of cultural, economic, political, and social change.

Secondary Bibliographies, Surveys of Research, and Excerpts of Criticism

Note: Many reference works about relatively recent authors contain a mixture of biographical and information and either or both primary and secondary bibliographical citations.

Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2000.

Asian American Poets: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Guiyou Huang. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Asian American Playwrights: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Miles Xian Liu. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Bibliography of Native North Americans

Black Studies Center. A fully cross-searchable gateway to Black Studies including scholarly essays, recent periodicals, historical newspaper articles, and much more. It combines several resources for research and teaching in Black Studies: Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP), historical black newspapers, and the Black Literature Index.

Hawai'i Pacific Journal Index.

Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) - HAPI Online.  Indexes over 275,000 journal article citations about Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, and Hispanics/Latinos in the United States and provides over 60,000 links to the full text of articles appearing in more than 600 key humanities and social sciences journals. 

 Index Islamicus. Although primarily an index of Middle Eastern topics, the subject heading "Anglophone Muslim Literature" currently retrieves over 1200 citations.

Black Literature Criticism: Exccerpts from Criticism of the Most Significant Works of Black Authors over the Past 200 Years. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992-99. 3 vol. plus supplement. Geisel Reference PS 153 .N5 B556

Cheung, King-Kok. An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature. Cambridge: Cambrdige University Press, 1997. Geisel stacks (2 copies) PS 153 .A84 I58 1997

Colonnese, Tom, and Louis Owens. American Indian Novelists: An Annotated Critical Bibliography. NY: Garland, 1985. Request from SRLF using the Melvyl record.

Eger, Ernestina N. A Bibliography of Criticism of Contemporary Chicano Literature. Berkeley: Chicano Library, University of California Berkeley, 1982. Geisel stacks PS 153 .M4 E35

Houston, Helen Ruth. The Afro-American Novel, 1965-1975: A Descriptive Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Materials. Troy, NY: Whitston, 1977. Request from SRLF using the Melvyl record.

Inge, M. Thomas, Maurice Duke, and Jackson R. Bryer, eds. Black American Writers: Bibliographical Essays. NY: St. Martin's Press, 1978. 2 volumes. Request from SRLF using the Melvyl record.

Lomeli, Francisco A. and Donaldo W. Urioste. Chicano Perspectives in Literature: A Critical and Annotated Bibliography. Albuquerque NM: Pajarito Publications, 1976. Geisel stacks PS 508 .M4 L65

Margolies, Edward, and David Bakish. Afro-American Fiction, 1853-1976: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979. Geisel stacks PS 374 .N4 M3

Nadel, Ira Bruce. Jewish Writers of North America: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research, 1981. Request from SRLF using the record in Melvyl.

Perry, Margaret. The Harlem Renaissance: An Annotated Bibliography and Commentary. NY: Garland, 1982. Arts Library stacks NX 511 .N4z P47 1982 

A Resource Guide to Asian American Literature. Eds. Sau-ling Cynthia Wong and Stephen H. Sumida. NY: MLA, 2001. Geisel stacks PS 153 .A84 R47 2001 

Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown. American Indian Literatures: An Introduction, Bibliographic Review, and Selected Bibliography. NY: MLA, 1990. Geisel stacks PM 155 .R86 1990

Trujillo, Roberto G. and Andres Rodriguez. Literatura Chicana: Creative and Critical Writings Through 1984. Oakland CA: Floricanto Press, 1985. Geisel stacks PS 153 .M4 T78 1985. 

White, Phillip M., comp. Bibliography of Native American Bibliographies. Westport, Ct.: Praeger, 2004. Geisel Reference E 77 .W53 2004


Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Companions, Biography

African American

African American Writers. Ed. Valerie Smith. 2nd ed. 2 vols. NY: Scribners, 2001. Excellent, somewhat lengthy biographical and critical surveys by noted scholars.

The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Edited by William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris. NY: Oxford UP, 2001. (regularly updated)

Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History. Ed. Colin A. Palmer. 2nd edition. Detroit: Gale Research, 2006. 6 volumes. Geisel Reference E 185 .E54 2005

Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema. Ed. Torriano Berry and Venise T. Berry.. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Oxford African American Studies Center. The Oxford African American Studies Center provides students, scholars and librarians with more than 10,000 articles by top scholars in the field. The core content includes: Africana, Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895, Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present Black Women in America, Second Edition, and African American National Biography.

The Oxford Companion to Black British History. Ed. David Dabydeen, John Gilmore, and Cecily Jones. NY: Oxford UP, 2007 (regularly updated).

Asian American

Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z Guide. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2003.

Asian American Writers. (Dictionary of Literary Biography, v. 312*). Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2005.

Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature. Ed. Seiwoong Oh. NY: Facts on File, 2007. Geisel stacks PS 153 .A84 O37 2007. Online access on order.

Keywords for Asian American Studies. Ed. Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Linda Trinh-Vo, and K. Scott Wong. New York University Press, 2015.

Xu, Wenying. Historical Dictionary of Asian American Literature and Theater. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2012.


Chicano Writers. Series 1 (Dictionary of Literary Biography, v.82, 1989*) and Series 2 (Dictionary of Literary Biography, v.122, 1992*).

Latino and Latina Writers. (Scribner Writers' Series).  Biographical and critical essays that examaine more than 50 Cuban, Dominican, Chicano and Puerto Rican writers who have published since 1960.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. Ed. Suzanne Oboler and Deena J. Gonzalez. New York: Oxford UP, 2005. Although not restricted to literary topics, this encyclopedia has a lengthy overview article on Latino/a literature, critical theory, performing arts, poetry, publishing, and articles on many individual writers.

The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature. Ed. Suzanne Bost and Fraces R. Aparicio. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2013. Fifty scholars survey various themes and developments in Latino/a literature and culture.

Native American

Dictionary of Native American Literature. Ed. Andrew Wiget. NY: Garland, 1994. Geisel Reference PM 155 .D53 1994. Reprinted in 1996 as Handbook of Native American Literature, available in Geisel stacks with the same call number.

* The contents of the volumes of Dictionary of Literary Biography appear in Literature Resrouce Center. 

Bibliographies of Primary Sources

Note: Many reference works about relatively recent authors contain a mixture of biographical and information and either or both primary and secondary bibliographical citations.

Modern African American Writers. New York: Facts on File, 1994. Geisel 7th floor PS 374 .N4 M6 1994.

Brignano, Russell C. Black Americans in Autobiography: An Annotated Bibliography of Autobiographies and Autobiographical Books Written Since the Civil War. Rev. ed. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1984. Request SRLF copy from the Melyl record.

Brumble, H. David, III. An Annotated Bibliography of American Indian and Eskimo Autobiographies. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981. Geisel Reference E 99 .B78

Cheung, King-Kok, and Stan Yogi. Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. NY: MLA, 1988. Geisel Reference PS 153 .A84 C47 1988

Daniel, Walter C. Black Journals of the United States. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood, 1982. Geisel Reference PN 4882.5 .D38 1982

Danky, James P, and Maureen E. Hady, eds. African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998. Geisel Reference PN 4882.5 .A37 1998

Fairbanks, Carol, and Eugene A. Engeldinger. Black American Fiction: A Bibliography. Metuchen NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1978. Geisel stacks PS 153 .N5 F34

French, William P. et al. Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760-1975: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979. Geisel stacks PS 153 .N5 A37

Hatch, James V. and OMANii Abdullah, comps. Black Playwrights, 1823-1977: An Annotated Bibliography. NY: Bowker, 1977. Geisel Reference PS 338 .N4 H3

Jordan, Casper Leroy. A Bibiographical Guide to African American Women Writers. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1993. Geisel stacks PS 153 .N5 J67 2003

Leonard, Kathy S. Bibliographic Guide to Chicana and Latina Narrative. Westport, Ct.: Praeger, 2003. An index to short stories in anthologies, novels, and biograhies or autobiographies, written in either English or Spanish, between the 1940s and 2002. Geisel Reference PS 153 .M4 L45 2002.

Littlefield, Daniel F, Jr., and James W. Parins. A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1981. Supplement, 1985. Request from SRLF from the record in Melvyl.

Peterson, Bernard L., Jr. Contemporary Black American Playwrights and Their Plays: A Biographical Directory and Dramatic Index. NY: Greenwood Press, 1988. Geisel Reference PS 153 .N5 P43 1988

Peterson, Bernard L., Jr. Early Black American Playwrights and Dramatic Writers: A Biographical Directory and Catalog of Plays, Films, and Broadcasting Scripts. NY: Greenwood Press, 1990. Geisel stacks PS 153 .N5 P44 1990

Stuhr, Rebecca. Autobiographies of Americans of Color, 1980-1994: An Annotated Bibliography. Troy, NY: Whitston, 1997. Geisel Reference CT 220 .S783 1997 A subsequent volume covering the years 1995-2000 (published 2003) is on order.

Yancy, Preston M., comp. The Afro-American Short Story: A Comprehensive Annotated Index with Selected Commentaries. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1986. Index of more than 850 stories published between 1950-1982 in collections, anthologies, and periodicals. Request from interlibrary loan through Melvyl. 

Yellin, Jean Fagan and Cynthia D. Bond. The Pen is Ours: A Listing of Writings by and About Afrian American Women before 1910 with a Secondary Bibliography to the Present. NY: Oxford UP, 1991. Request via Melvyl.




Library of Congress Subject Headings

The basic Library of Congress subject headings for the major ethnic groups in the U.S. are:

American Literature--African American Authors

African American Authors

American Literature--Asian American Authors

  • also, --Chinese American Authors, --Japanese American Authors, --Korean American Authors, --Vietnamese American Authors, etc.

Asian American Authors

American Literature--Filipino American Authors

Philippine Literature (English) (for authors not resident in or citizens of the U.S.)

   However: Authors, Filipino

American Literature--Mexican American Authors  (not Chicano or Chicana literature)

Mexican American Authors

American Literature--Hispanic American Authors (not Latino or Latina literature)

American Literature--Italian American Authors

  • Use similar construction for other national origins, e.g. Polish American,      

Indians of North America

Indian Literature--United States

Other relevant topics:

Ethnicity in Literature, Postcolonialism in Literature, Imperialism in Literature, Racism in Literature


Useful Websites

Voice of the Shuttle (VoS): Minority Literatures. Contains hundreds of links to pages related to various ethnic or minority U.S. literatures, including many devoted to individual writers.