7) Danzy Senna: Novelist
Best known for: “Caucasia,” “Symptomatic”
Why we love her: Her debut novel, 1998’s “Caucasia,” took a heartbreaking, yet sweet look at the lives of two biracial sisters who came of age during the turbulent 1970’s. The book explores the challenges of multi-ethnic identity, without succumbing to the trite ‘tragic mullata’ stereotype. Senna, herself the child of a black father and Irish mother, revisits the multiracial theme in 2003’s “Symptomatic,” a thriller about a young mixed woman who is often mistaken for white.
Notable quotable: “It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere.”