Another February has come and with its arrival another opportunity to meet more Black writers and receive an introduction (or maybe re-introduction) to their works. Some of these writers I have met; others I have not. But, all impressed me with their talent and/or successes. I hope you enjoy reading about these impressive writers and that you’ll be inspired to read some or all of their works. Enjoy Black History Month and Black Literary Facts!
Leslie Esdaile Banks – With more than 60 works to her credit, Banks is best known for her Vampire Huntress Legend series and her romance novels.
Eleanor Taylor Bland – As a mystery novelist, Bland’s focus was to “give voice to those normally without a voice.” Marti MacAlister is the heroine in her eleven-book MacAlister detective series.
Charles W. Chesnutt – Author and essayist, Chestnutt wrote novels and short stories dealing with race and social identity during the post Civil War.
Donald Crews – A two-time Caldecott Honor winner, Crews authored the children’s books Freight Train and Truck.
Eric Jerome Dickey – This New York Times bestselling author has penned over twenty novels that feature strong female characters in lead roles.
Percival Everett – He is a poet, novelist and short story writer as well as the recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Believer Book Award, the PEN and numerous other awards.
Sharon G. Flake – This writer is a Publisher’s Weekly favorite. She is a young adult literary writer whose goal is to give hope, foster beliefs and encourage dreams.
Ernest Gaines – A National Endowment for the Arts recipient, Gaines has had several of his novels adapted to film, the most popular being The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying.
Marita Golden – Author of 14 works of fiction and nonfiction, she has received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Award and the Literary Award for Fiction for After.
Eloise Greenfield began writing children’s book because “far too few books told the truth about African-American people.” Her writings reflect her seriousness in telling the truth of her people.
Francis Ray – Romance novelist and short story writer who penned more than 50 books. She was an award winning, bestselling writer as well as the creator of a foundation to help victims of domestic abuse.
bell hooks – Ain’t I a Woman? is the title of this author’s work which greatly influenced contemporary feminist thought. She has also written literature for young people.
Elliott Eli Jackson – This author, poet and speaker writes nonfiction books, blogs and essays on spirituality and healing. He is a frequent speaker at conferences.
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a Harvard professor and the author of 16 books. In addition, he is affiliated with The Root, a daily online magazine.
Jesse C. Jackson – A young adult novelist whose stories focused on minorities forced to integrate a white environment is best known for Call Me Charley and Tessie.
Etheridge Knight – This poet wrote multiple books of poetry during the time of the Black Arts Movement. He was engaged with such notables as Amiri Baraka, Haki Madhubuti, and Sonia Sanchez.
Alain Locke – A Rhodes Scholarship winner, Locke’s writings and focus was on African and African American literature and writers. He wrote The New Negro, which is a classic.
John Marrant – In 1785, his pamphlet, A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, a Black, was published and was so popular it was reprinted many times.
Brandon Massey – This award winning author of horror and suspense has published novels and short story collections. His works also appear in anthologies.
Richard Bruce Nugent – A popular figure during the Harlem Renaissance, his novel Gentleman Jigger was published in 2008, 70 years after it was written.
ZZ Packer – Drinking Coffee Elsewhere was this author’s international bestseller. She has published frequently in The New Yorker and Granta.
Gordon Parks – Best known as the most important black photographer of our time, he is also the first African American to write and direct a Hollywood feature film, The Learning Tree based on his novel.
Alvin F. Poussaint – This author has written several nonfiction books on parenting, crime and other contemporary issues. In addition, he has an impressive list of articles on the same topics.
Willis Richardson – A playwright during the ’20s and ’30s, Richardson is considered a leader in the Negro Theatre movement. His plays were performed around the country and received countless awards.
Carl Hancock Rux – He is an award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist. His work, A City Reimagined: Voices of 9/11 in Poetry and Performance is a tribute to 9/11.
Ishmael Reed – A poet, essayist and novelist, he is best known for Mumbo Jumbo and Flight to Canada. Two of his books were nominated for the National Book Awards and other prizes.
Brenda Jackson – This USA Today and New York Times bestselling romance author has penned more than 100 novels and has more than three million books in print.
Angela Davis – Author of Women, Race, and Class and Are Prisons Obsolete?, Davis is best known for her work in social, civil and women’s rights.
May Miller – Her poem, Blazing Accusation is well known and was written after the 1963 bombing in Birmingham. She is also the award-winning playwright of The Bog Guide and Within the Shadows.