Our Living Literary Treasures

January 16, 2011  |  

8. Terry McMillan: Novelist

Best known for: “Mama,” “Disappearing Acts,” “Waiting To Exhale”

Why we love her: McMillan has penned some of the most popular, controversial and celebrated novels of the past 20 years. Before the blogosphere gave sisters the opportunity to vent their romantic frustrations, “Waiting To Exhale” gave the world a look at some of our challenges in our struggle to find both romantic and self love. While men have long since blasted the novel and film for it’s “man-bashing”, it wasn’t exactly the hardest story to believe. McMillan’s ability to write lovable, realistic characters hasn’t gone anywhere, as made evident by her 2010 sequel “Getting To Happy.” Plus,  she drops priceless jewels of wisdom on Twitter and on her website on a regular basis. McMillan is well-known to be a  cheerleader for emerging young talent.

Notable quotable: “I don’t trust white critics’ judgment about most things that deal with black life, particularly when a black person is the creator.”

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  • Diva

    There are other authors that you have forgotten about. The "old standards" are great, however please look to the other voices of literary fiction. These women are writing about love, loss and everything in between and it's not Urban Fiction. They are never are mention because we always fall back on Walker, Cooper, Angelou, Mcmillan, Morrison, and Smith.

    Please open your eyes and the eyes of your readers by locating them. These authors also deserve their spotlight.

    **Some of these ladies are also New York Time best-selling authors, won several literary awards, and have over 30 or 40 books in print.


  • Neilah

    Great post ! However you guys could have found a better picture of Ntozake Shange! Sheesh! Give the woman the respect she's owed! *SMH*

  • Kristine

    I LOVED this article! Thank you! Toni Morrison has to be my favorite because she allows the reader to become a part of each character.

  • Ari

    This was an interesting post to read, I hadn't heard of Danzy Senza so thank you for pointing her out to me! Caucasia sounds like a fabulous novel.

  • MissAj

    What about Sonia Sanchez?

  • Danielle

    How about Nikki Giovani

  • Can

    I'm surprised (and a bit disappointed) that you didn't include Octavia Butler—as I learned about her from this website. And in literary terms she i one of the few African American Women Sci-Fi writers. I enjoyed both Fledgling and Kindred from Ms. Butler.

    • Ari

      Maybe they didn't include her because she's no longer living? I still need to read Kindred!

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