Acclaimed author and activist Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name bell hooks, died on Dec. 15 at the age of 69.
“The family of Gloria Jean Watkins is deeply saddened at the passing of our beloved sister,” the author’s family announced in a statement.
“The family honored her request to transition at home with family and friends by her side,” the statement further read.
Hooks adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name as her pen name but used lowercase letters to distinguish herself.
Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1952, hooks published some 40 books, which have been translated in 15 different languages.
Hooks covered themes of race, feminism, capitalism, and intersectionality.
Hooks’ first published work was a collection of poems titled, “And There We Wept,” in 1978.
In 1981, Hooks published “Ain’t I A Woman?: Black Women and Feminism,” which earned recognition as an important feminist text as it examined Black feminism through the lens of sexism and slavery.
Publisher’s Weekly named the book as one of the 20 most influential books in the last 20 years, according to Poetry Foundation.
Hooks received prominent awards throughout her writing career, including the American Book Award for “Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics” and the Best Poetry Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for “Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place.”
Hooks was also inducted in the Kentucky Writers’ Hall of Fame in 2018 and was named as one of the leading public intellectuals by The Atlantic Monthly.
Hooks’ other works include “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center” in 1984, “Feminism Is for Everybody” in 2000, and “We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity” in 2003.
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