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Female Professionals The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature  

Celebrity Lists
421 votes 110 voters 5.2k views

List Rules Vote up the top black women authors throughout history and around the world, including novelists, essayists, journalists, and other writers.

Looking for your next engrossing read? Look no further. This list features the most famous black female authors of all time, known for books spanning multiple genres. The best black female writers come in many forms. Some of these talented women are novelists, while other notable black female writers also pen poetry. A number of these works have even been adapted into feature films.

What literary luminaries will you find on this list of black women authors? You might vote Maya Angelou to the top spot. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings put her on the literary map in 1969 and she continued her success with such books as Gather Together in My Name and All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes. Toni Morrison is another great African American female author. Alice Walker's The Color Purple won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 and its film adaptation was nominated for several Academy Awards. Angela Davis, TerryMcMillan, and Audre Lorde are also featured on this roundup.

Which woman should be ranked at number one on the list? That's up to you to decide. Give your favorites a thumbs up to move them towards the top, and please add any talented writers that are missing.

1
33 7
Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Maya Angelou Died at 86 (1928-2014)

2
26 5
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Toni Morrison age 87

3
16 4
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Alice Walker age 74

4
15 4
Sojourner Truth is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

5
14 4
Octavia E. Butler is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Octavia E. Butler Died at 59 (1947-2006)

6
11 3
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

7
10 3
Audre Lorde is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Audre Lorde Died at 58 (1934-1992)

8
7 1
Lorraine Hansberry is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Lorraine Hansberry Died at 35 (1930-1965)

9
9 3
Nikki Giovanni is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

10
15 9
Zora Neale Hurston is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Zora Neale Hurston Died at 69 (1891-1960)

11
6 1
Patricia Hill Collins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

12
8 3
Rebecca Walker is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

13
5 0
Staceyann Chin is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

14
7 2
Chika Unigwe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Chika Unigwe age 44

15
8 3
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Nina Simone Died at 70 (1933-2003)

16
10 6
Angela Davis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Angela Davis age 74

17
6 2
Asha Bandele is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Asha Bandele

18
5 1
Dorothy West is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dorothy West Died at 91 (1907-1998)

19
5 1
Toi Derricote is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Toi Derricote

20
4 0
Paule Marshall is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

21
7 4
Terry McMillan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

22
5 2
Harriet E. Wilson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Harriet E. Wilson Died at 75 (1825-1900)

23
4 1
Elizabeth Nunez is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

24
4 1
Toni Cade Bambara is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Toni Cade Bambara Died at 56 (1939-1995)

25
6 4
Phillis Wheatley is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Phillis Wheatley Died at 31 (1753-1784)

26
5 3
Ann Petry is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Ann Petry Died at 89 (1908-1997)

27
4 2
Jessie Fauset is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Jessie Fauset

28
4 2
Maggie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Maggie Anderson age 69

29
4 2
Elizabeth Alexander is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

30
3 1
Rita Dove is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Rita Dove age 65

31
5 4
Ntozake Shange is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

32
5 4
Sapphire is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Sapphire age 67

33
4 3
Tina McElroy Ansa is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

34
4 3
Helena Andrews is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Helena Andrews age 37

35
2 1
Gwendolyn Brooks is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Gwendolyn Brooks Died at 83 (1917-2000)

36
2 1
Tomi Adeyemi is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Sana Wilson added Tomi Adeyemi

37
2 1
Lucille Clifton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Lucille Clifton Died at 74 (1936-2010)

38
2 1
Pearl Cleage is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Pearl Cleage age 69

39
2 1
Edwidge Danticat is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

40
2 1
Tracy K. Smith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

41
1 0
Nella Larsen is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
grace-feinman-riordan added Nella Larsen Died at 73 (1891-1964)

42
3 3
Jesmyn Ward is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Jesmyn Ward age 41

43
2 2
Ernessa T. Carter is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Ernessa T. Carter

44
1 1
Julie Dash is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Julie Dash age 65

45
1 1
Michelle Alexander is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Michelle Alexander age 50

46
2 3
Buchi Emecheta is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

47
0 1
Heidi W. Durrow is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature