How gorgeous are these Virago Press editions of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies? I read and finished the first of her autobiographies I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings this week. And it is one of those rare occasions where you read something by an author and then immediately want to read everything they’ve ever written. Once I read the final page, I went online and bought the next two books in the series.
I’m going to hold my hands up and admit my ignorance. I had no idea Maya Angelou had seven!! autobiographies and numerous poetry collections. She’s one of the all time American greats and I’m only discovering her now. I’m going to be busy. I enjoy a strong female voice and Maya Angelou may just be the strongest.
A civil rights activist who was seen as a spokesperson for black people and women. When I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings was published in 1969, she was one of the first black, female writers to write a memoir. Unapologetically writing about black culture, putting herself at the forefront of the story, rather than being marginalized.
Her debut is a truthful depiction of life in the American south in the 1930’s and 40’s. There is poverty and discrimination. Never shying away from the difficult topics, we are shown the true extent of the racism she, her family and her peers had to deal with.
Other titles include The Heart Of A Woman, All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes, A Song Flung Up To Heaven and Mom and Me and Mom. I am going to savour these special books.