African-American authors have consistently explored the political dimensions of literature and its ability to affect social change. African-American literature has also provided an essential framework for shaping cultural identity and solidarity. From the early slave narratives to the folklore and dialect verse of the Harlem Renaissance to the modern novels of today, black authors have returned to the roots of their African heritage, preserved in the songs and stories of their oppressed ancestors, and united it with their life experiences to create unique works of art. African-American Writers is a concise and comprehensive reference work that documents the extraordinary achievements of African-American authors in a wide range of genres. This volume addresses those authors whose works are readily available in print and are prominent in high school and college curricula. Lesser-known writers whose works are nonetheless central to an understanding of the development of African-American literature are also profiled. Each profile provides basic and interesting biographical information about the writer as well as detailing the impact that he or she has had in shaping a unique literary tradition. Novelists, poets, nonfiction writers, journalists, science fiction writers, children's and young adult fiction writers, essayists, and literary and cultural critics are included. In addition to entries on individual writers, major literary movements (e.g., Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement) are also discussed in the introduction to provide a background to the social and political forces that shaped the literature of different periods. A general bibliography, two subject indexes (one by activity, one by year of birth), a general index, and approximately 50 black-and-white photographs complement the text. Profiles include: Maya Angelou: poet, novelist, essayist, autobiographer, screenwriter and director, actor, playwright, children's fiction writer, educator James Baldwin: essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, educator, civil rights activist Countee Cullen: poet, novelist, editor, educator Rita Dove: poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, playwright, educator Jamaica Kincaid: short fiction writer, novelist, essayist, editor, educator Toni Morrison: novelist, playwright, essayist, editor, educator Cornel West: literary critic, essayist, editor, educator and many others. Excerpted from African-American Writers by Philip Bader All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.