[By Kenton Rambsy]
Oprah Winfrey’s role in expanding the readership of African American literature and promoting the work of black novelists serves as a point of entry for better understanding how well-known and lesser-known writers gain exposure to commercial audiences.
Winfrey’s has featured novels writers such as Toni Morrison, Ernest J. Gaines, and Edwidge Danticat as book-of-the-month selections. She has served as an actress in movies adapted from African American novels such as The Color Purple (1985), Native Son (1986), The Women of Brewster’s Place (1989), and Beloved (1998) . She has even been a major financial contributor to the Broadway Musical version of The Color Purple as well as the made-for-TV film of Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Below, I have provided a recap of entries that focus on Winfrey’s role as a sponsor for black writers. In addition, since often times Winfrey is associated with the dramatic adaptations and promotion of novels by Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, I have included entries about these writers as well.
Oprah Winfrey and African American Literature
Alice Walker and Toni Morrison