Early life 
Born in New York, she was the first child to Roosevelt McCain and Alberta McAlpin. During Naylor's childhood, her father worked as a transit worker and her mother as a telephone operator. From a young age, Naylor's mother encouraged her to read and keep a journal. Even though her mother had little education, she loved to read and often worked overtime in the fields as a sharecropper to produce enough money to join a book club.
In 1963, she moved to Queens with her family. Five years later Naylor followed in her mother's footsteps and became a Jehovah's Witness, but she left seven years later as ”things weren't getting better, but worse.”
Naylor's debut novel The Women of Brewster Place was published in 1982 and won the 1983 National Book Award in the category First Novel. It was adapted as a 1989 film of the same name by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions.
During her career as a professor, Naylor taught writing and literature at several universities, including at George Washington University, New York University, Boston University, and Cornell University.
- The Women of Brewster Place (1982), ISBN 0-7868-6421-4
- Linden Hills (1985), ISBN 0-14-008829-6
- Mommy, What Does Nigger Mean? (1986)
- Mama Day (1988), ISBN 0-89919-716-7
- Bailey's Café (1992), ISBN 0-15-110450-6
- Children of the Night: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1967 to the Present (1995), ISBN 0-316-59926-3 (editor)
- The Men of Brewster Place (1999), ISBN 0-7868-8405-3
- 1996 (2005), ISBN 0-88378-263-4
Further reading 
- Prahlad, Sw. Anand. 1998. "All chickens come home to roost: The function of proverbs in Gloria Naylor's Mama Day." Proverbium, 15: 265-282.
- Drieling Claudia, 2011. Constructs of "Home" in Gloria Naylor's Quartet. Würzburg, Germany: Königshausen & Neumann, 325 pp. ISBN 978-3-8260-4492-2.
- Voices from the Gaps biography: Naylor, Gloria
- "National Book Awards – 1983". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-28. (With acceptance speech by Naylor and essays by Rachel Helgeson and Felicia Pride from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)
• First novels or first works of fiction were recognized from 1980 to 1985.
- Biography at aalbc.com
- Gloria Naylor at aaregistry.com
- Gloria Naylor at Watchtower Information Service
- Author profile at her publisher Random House
- Article "Award Winning Author Gloria Naylor Donates Archives to SHU" at sacredheart.edu