African American women writers have made an enormous contribution to our culture. Many of these authors wrote during the Harlem Renaissance, a particularly vital time in African American arts and letters, while others have been especially active since the 1970s, an era in which works by African American women are adapted into films and are widely read in book clubs. Literature by African American women is important for its aesthetic qualities, and it also illuminates the social issues which these authors have confronted. This book conveniently surveys the lives and works of African American women writers.
Included are alphabetically arranged entries on more than 150 African American women novelists, poets, playwrights, short fiction writers, autobiographers, essayists, and influential scholars. Some of these figures, such as Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor, are among the most popular authors writing today, while others have been largely neglected or are recently emerging.
Each entry provides a biography, a discussion of major works, a survey of the writer's critical reception, and primary and secondary bibliographies. The Encyclopedia closes with a selected, general bibliography. Students and general readers will welcome this guide to the rich achievement of African American women. Literature students will value its exploration of the works of these writers, while social studies students will appreciate its examination of the social issues these women confront in their works.
Yolanda Williams Page is Associate Professor of English, Theatre, and Mass Communications at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Prior to that position she worked at Dillard University, where she served as Assistant Dean of Humanities and was an associate professor of English.