Monday, May 5, 2014

Author Bio: Ntozake Shange

The author of this week's book is Ntozake Shange (pronounced n-to-zaki shan-gay). She is best known for the book we'll be reading this week, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf but she has written many plays, novels, and poems, plus some children's books.

She was born Paulette Williams in Trenton, NJ in 1948. She and her family moved to St. Louis shortly after Brown v. The Board of Education and she was sent to a predominantly white school, where she was the target of racial discrimination.

Her family entertained many famous artists and musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Chuck Berry, and W E B DuBois, which likely fueled her interest in the arts.

After graduating from college, getting married and then divorced, and attempting suicide, she changed her name. Ntozake means "she who has her own things" and Shange means "one who walks/lives with lions" in Xhosa, which is one of the official languages of South Africa (spoken by about 18% of the population).

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