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Female Professionals

The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature  

Ranker Books
761 votes 229 voters 14.2k 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.

list ordered by
1
Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 86 (1928-2014)
2
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
age 88
3
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
age 75
4
Sojourner Truth is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
5
Octavia E. Butler is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 59 (1947-2006)
6
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
7
Zora Neale Hurston is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 69 (1891-1960)
8
Nikki Giovanni is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
9
Lorraine Hansberry is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 35 (1930-1965)
10
Audre Lorde is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 58 (1934-1992)
11
Terry McMillan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
12
Patricia Hill Collins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
13
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 70 (1933-2003)
14
Paule Marshall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
15
Gwendolyn Brooks is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 83 (1917-2000)
16
Chika Unigwe is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
age 45
17
Asha Bandele is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
18
Staceyann Chin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
19
Dorothy West is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 91 (1907-1998)
20
Toi Derricote is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
21
Toni Cade Bambara is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
Dec. at 56 (1939-1995)
22
Rita Dove is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
age 66
23
Angela Davis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
age 75
24
Nella Larsen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature
grace-feinman-riordan added Dec. at 73 (1891-1964)
25
Ntozake Shange is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature