Doris Jean Austin

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Doris Jean Austin (1949–1994) was an American author and journalist.

Personal life and education[edit]

Doris Jean Austin was born in 1949 in Mobile, Alabama, in the United States. She was raised by her mother and grandmother. When she was six years old, Austin moved with her family to Jersey City, New Jersey. She attended Lincoln High School. She was influenced to become a writer by her high school English teacher Reverend Ercell F. Webb. She was raised in a strict Baptist household, which would also serve as an inspiration for her work. She died in 1994 of liver cancer.[1]


From 1989 until 1994, Austin taught workshops about fiction at Columbia University and at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center.[1][2] She co-founded the Harlem Writers Guild. She left the guild in 1994 and co-founded The New Renaissance Guild. The group was inspired by writers groups during the Harlem Renaissance. Arthur Flowers and Terry McMillan were involved in the group.[1][3] For a time she was a reporter for NBC Radio. Her work has been published in Essence, Amsterdam News, and the New York Times.[1][4]


Austin wrote one novel, After the Garden. The novel pulls inspiration from people that attended the Baptist church Austin attended when young. The book is about "idealism and tainted relationships." Her short story, "Heirs and Orphans," is based on a character in After the Garden, and was featured in the anthology Black Southern Voices. She has had additional short stories appear in Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience, which she co-edited.[1]


Austin was best friends with Terry McMillan. In McMillan's book, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the character Delilah was based on Austin.[3][5] Writer Carolyn Ferrell credits Austin as a mentor.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e Yolanda Williams Page (30 January 2007). Encyclopedia of African American Women Writers Two Volumes – 2 Volumes. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 23–25. ISBN 978-0-313-33429-0. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Gillespie, Fern (1 September 1999). "Twentieth century black wrtiers find a voice at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center". Black Issues Book Review. Cox, Matthews & Associates. Retrieved 29 December 2012. (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b Millner, Denene (22 August 1998). "Girlfriends, Thick and Thin". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 29 December 2012. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Austin, Doris Jean. "The Voyeur in the Mirror". Black Woman. The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Millner, Denene (30 August 1998). "Girlfriends Becoming A Popular Theme". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 29 December 2012. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Proper Library. Gale. 2006. (subscription required)

External links[edit]