Gloria Naylor, a celebrated author who penned empowering stories of black women, passed away after suffering a heart attack on September 28.
Naylor’s sister, Bernice Harrison, confirmed the news.
Harrison said the author had been weak for quite some time; the family did not have knowledge about the extent of Naylor’s illness. On Wednesday, Naylor suffered a coronary attack; unfortunately, she could not be revived.
Gloria Naylor: Author of award winning 1982 book The Women of Brewster Place
As reported by Ebony, Naylor is popularly known for her 1982 award-winning literary masterpiece The Women of Brewster Place. The book was so well-received it went on to win the National Book Award for First Series the following year; in 1989, it was adapted into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey.
Naylor said in her acceptance speech that her love for books and literature came from her mother who ensured that her children – Naylor and her two sisters – received the best education possible.
“I wrote [The Women of Brewster Place] as a tribute to her and other black woman who, in spite of the very limited personal circumstances, somehow manage to hold a fierce belief in the limitless possibilities of the human spirit,” Naylor said.
Some of her other credentials include the likes of Linden Hills, Mama Day, and Bailey’s Cafe. In the world of literature, Naylor is hailed for her “psychologically acute and provocative fiction,” as noted by the Huffington Post.
Gloria Naylor: Recipient of prestigious of National Endowment of the Arts and Guggenheim fellowship
According to Biography.com, Naylor was among the very few who received a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts in 1985 and a Guggenheim fellowship in 1988. She also served as visiting professor in several educational institutions including George Washington University (1983-1984), University of Pennsylvania (1986), New York University (Spring 1986), Princeton (1986-1987), Boston University (1987), Brandeis University (1988), and Cornell (1988).
Born in 1950 in New York, she obtained her undergraduate degree in English at Brooklyn College and subsequently pursued her postgraduate in African American Studies from Yale University.
Writers and readers paid their tribute to Naylor on Twitter.
#GloriaNaylor. You opened your spirit and left an exquisite legacy in words. Take your rest sweet sister. No struggle remains. Only peace.
— karla fc holloway (@ProfHolloway) October 3, 2016
It's difficult for me to put into words what Gloria Naylor's work has meant to my life as a black woman writer.
— Cole Lavalais (@Colelavalais) October 3, 2016
We lost Gloria Naylor, a brilliant storyteller and healer. Her books were black womanhood on full display. May you rest in paradise…
— Tiffany Gill (@IAmTiffanyGill) October 3, 2016