Naylor in 2007
January 25, 1950|
New York, U.S.
|Died||September 28, 2016
Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
Early life and education
Naylor was born in New York on January 25, 1950, the oldest child of Roosevelt Naylor and Alberta McAlpin. The Naylors, who had been sharecroppers in Robinsonville, Mississippi, had migrated to Harlem to escape life in the segregated South. Her father became a transit worker; her mother, a telephone operator. Even though Naylor’s mother had little education, she loved to read, and encouraged her daughter to read and keep a journal.
In 1963, Naylor's family moved to Queens and her mother joined the Jehovah's Witnesses. An outstanding student who read voraciously, Naylor was placed into advanced classes in high school, where she immersed herself in the work of nineteenth century British novelists. Her educational aspirations, however, were delayed by the shock of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in her senior year. She decided to postpone her college education, becoming a missionary for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York, North Carolina, and Florida instead. She left seven years later as "things weren't getting better, but worse.”
Naylor earned her bachelor's degree in English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1981. She obtained a master's degree in African American Studies from Yale University in 1983. She was an Honorary Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
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 studies at Brooklyn College, Naylor became immersed in the works of African-American female authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and especially Toni Morrison. Drawing inspiration from these authors, Naylor began writing stories centered on the lives of African-American women, which resulted in her first novel, The Women of Brewster Place.
- The Women of Brewster Place (1982), ISBN 0-7868-6421-4
- Linden Hills (1985), ISBN 0-14-008829-6
- The Meanings of a Word (1986)
- Mama Day (1988), ISBN 0-89919-716-7
- Bailey's Cafe (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
- National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1985
- Candace Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, 1986
- Guggenheim Fellowship, 1988 
- Lillian Smith Award, 1989.
- 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.
- "Gloria Naylor." YourDictionary.
- Decker, Ed and Jennifer York. "Naylor, Gloria 1950–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2004.
- "Gloria Naylor." Voices from the Gaps. 1996. University of Minnesota. 2012.
- "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.
- "Rest in Power: Gloria Naylor, Author of ‘The Women of Brewster Place,’ Has Died, Ebony Magazine
- "Gloria Naylor, Who Wrote 'The Women of Brewster Place,' Dies", New York Times
- "Naylor, Gloria." Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Ed. Carl Rollyson. 4th ed. Vol. 6. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2010. 3321-3327.
- "CANDACE AWARD RECIPIENTS 1982-1990, Page 3". National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Archived from the original on March 14, 2003.