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Gloria Naylor

1950 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Gloria Naylor (David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons)
Gloria Naylor, the award-winning novelist who authored "The Women of Brewster Place," died Sept. 28, 2016, according to multiple news sources including Ebony Magazine. She was 66.

Ebony Magazine confirmed Naylor's death in a telephone call with her sister, Bernice Harrison, who said the author had a heart attack and could not be resuscitated. Naylor had been visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands at the time of her death.

Naylor was born Jan. 25, 1950, in New York City's Harlem neighborhood. A voracious reader as a child, she received a bachelor's degree in English at the City University of New York in 1981 and a master's in African-American studies from Yale University two years later.

"The Women of Brewster Place," Naylor's 1982 debut novel, was highly acclaimed. It won the National Book Award in 1982 in the first novel category. The book examines the lives of seven women, including their romantic loves, in an urban setting.

The novel was turned into a 1989 miniseries by the talk show host, actress, and media businesswoman Oprah Winfrey and her Harpo Productions studio. The cast included Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, and Robin Givens.

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Naylor credited her literary success to her mother in her National Book Award acceptance speech.

"Realizing that I was a painfully shy child, she gave me my first diary and told me to write my feelings down in there," Naylor said. "Over the years, that diary was followed by reams and reams of paper that eventually culminated into 'The Women of Brewster Place.' And I wrote that book as a tribute to her and other black women 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's other books included "Linden Hills," "Mama Day," and "Bailey's Café."

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