Writing Out Loud, 2009

"Joyce Carol Thomas's characters enact the verities of human life: romance, apprehension, loss, and hope, and they perform on the author's real life stage." —Maya Angelou

Joyce Carol Thomas


Joyce Carol Thomas won the National Book Award for her young adult literary novel, Marked by Fire (1982), which Booklist describes as “A lyrical celebration of black womanhood tempered by both pain and joy."  The story also became the basis for the musical Abyssinia (1987), featuring such songs as “Honey and Lemon,” which speak to Joyce’s ongoing themes of redemption and loss.

Though Joyce grew up Ponca City, a racially divided community at the time, she continues to pay tribute to the state. In her poetry collection, I Have Heard of a Land (1998), set in Oklahoma Territory, she writes, “I have heard of a land where the imaginations know no fences.”

Related listings: Anita Hill and Clifton Taulbert

Did You Know...

Joyce Carol Thomas developed a close friendship with Alex Haley, the author of Roots.

Getting Started with Joyce Carol Thomas

Selected Works

Marked by Fire, 1982
I Have Heard of a Land, 1998
The Blacker the Berry, 2008

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