Literary Ladies Guide celebrates classic women authors, and as part of our mission, we honor the rich tradition of African-American women authors. If you’d like to read more classic novels and memoirs by Black women writers, there’s much to explore. This list is a good place to start.
Historically, it was challenge enough for women to become published authors; this was especially true for African-American women facing the dual struggle of race and gender bias.
Fortunately, there are more women of all backgrounds writing today. That’s why this site limits its scope to women who have passed on, and those are the authors you’ll find in this list. Read More→
Lorraine Hansberry (1930 – 1965) was an American playwright and author best known for A Raisin in the Sun, a 1959 play that was influenced by her background and upbringing in Chicago. The fascinating facts about Lorraine Hansberry that follow illustrate her growth as an African American woman, activist, and writer.
Though A Raisin in the Sun is the crown jewel in Hansberry’s legacy, she was also known for the plays The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window and Les Blancs.
To Be Young, Gifted and Black was a posthumously produced play and collection of writings that capped a brief and brilliant career. When she died of pancreatic cancer in 1965, she was only 34 years old. Read More→
After discovering, reading, and rereading Zora Neale Hurston’s works, Alice Walker felt as if she knew Hurston personally. By the time of Hurston’s death, most of her considerable body of work was out of print, rarely read or studied. Here we’ll explore how Alice Walker rediscovered Zora Neale Hurston and revived her literary legacy.
Zora Neale Hurston (1891 – 1960) had a dual career as an anthropologist and author, incorporating regional and cultural realism in her short stories, folklore collections, and novels.
Alice Walker (1944 – ) is an activist, novelist, short story writer, and poet best known for the 1982 novel The Color Purple. Works by Walker and Hurston were included in a 1967 anthology of stories. Yet Alice Walker wasn’t very familiar with Zora Neale Hurston at the time. Read More→
Who was Emily Brontë? This is a question not easily answered. This wonderful chronology of her brief life by W. Robertson Nicoll was part of the introduction to the 1908 edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Brontë provides much insight into how she lived and worked.
Emily Brontë (1818 – 1848), the British author known for the novel Wuthering Heights, was also recognized as a brilliant poet. The sister of Charlotte and Anne Brontë, she is arguably the most enigmatic of the trio who produced some of the most widely read classics in English literature.
Emily only lived to age thirty and led a sheltered life at Haworth Parsonage in Yorkshire, rarely encountering anyone outside her immediate family. Yet she Emily one of the most iconic novels of passion and tragedy. Wuthering Heights is rather dark study of desire and obsession, it also touches upon economic, social, and psychological issues and is often cited as the ideal “romantic novel.” Read More→
The relationship of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West has gone down in literary history, and even today it holds a fascination, epitomizing the allure of the unconventional, the bohemian, the slightly eccentric and exotic.
On December 15, 1922, Virginia Woolf recorded in her diary that she had met “the lovely aristocratic Sackville-West last night at Clive’s. Not much to my severer taste … all the supple ease of the aristocracy, but not the wit of the artist.”
She was, of course, writing of Vita, the woman who would go on to become her lover, friend, and confidante. Read More→