Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant

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Smile V&D.jpg

Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, best friends for more than 25 years, turned a friendship into a successful writing collaboration. They are the co-authors of six bestselling novels such as Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made, Far From the Tree, Better Than I Know Myself and the re-released Exposures, (written as Marie Joyce) originally published in 1990 by Warner Books.Gotta Keep on Tryin’, a sequel to Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made, What Doesn't Kill You, and Uptown are published by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster.


Donna and Virginia first met in New York as plus size models vying for the same assignments. Their modeling careers led to the opportunity to launch Maxima, a fashion and lifestyle magazine for plus-size women, where Virginia was editor-in-chief and Donna the managing editor. When publication of Maxima ceased, Virginia and Donna tried writing a book together. Their first novel, Exposures was published under the pseudonym Marie Joyce (for Donna Marie and Virginia Joyce). It was also published in Spain as Instantaneas. Their second book, written as DeBerry and Grant, was Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made, was an Essence Bestseller and won the Merit Award for Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, as well as the 1998 Book of the Year Award from the Blackboard Bestseller List/African American Booksellers Conference-Book Expo America. Far From the Tree was a New York Times Bestseller, and Better Than I Know Myself received two Open Book Awards, and was included on the Best African-American fiction of 2004 lists of both Borders and WaldenBooks.

Donna attended Barnard College and is a graduate of New York University. She is a Brooklyn, New York native and currently lives in the borough with her husband. Before becoming a novelist, she spent more than a decade as a plus size model, represented by the 12+ division of Ford Models.

Virginia is a former high school English teacher from Buffalo, New York. She attended Fisk University and is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo. She now lives in New Jersey.

The authors have formed a partnership with Tyrha Lindsey and Tracey Kemble to form 4 Colored Girls Productions. The movie Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made, based on their 1997 novel, is their first independent feature.


  • Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made St Martin's Press (January 1997)
  • Far From the Tree St Martin's Press (September 2000)
  • Better Than I Know Myself'' St. Martin's Press (September 2004)
  • Exposures (written as Marie Joyce)Warner Popular Library (January 1990)
  • Gotta Keep on Tryin Touchstone/Simon & Schuster (January 2008)
  • What Doesn't Kill You Touchstone/Simon & Schuster (January 2009)
  • Uptown Touchstone/Simon & Schuster (March 2010)


  • Black Caucus of the American Library Association, showing Virginia Deberry & Donna Grant as 1998 recipients of a BCALA Honor Award in fiction for Tryin'. [1]
  • BlackBoard 1998 Book of the Year Winners—Award presented at BookExpo, the Book and Author Breakfast, Sunday May 31, 1998, McCormack Place Convention Center, Chicago, IL(Tryin' was the largest selling hardcover work of African American fiction for 1997)
  • Girl Book Club, 1997 New Author of the Year Award, (click on Award Winners Hall of Fame)[2]
  • African American Literary Awards Show—Open Book Award, September 29, 2004, [3]

External links[edit]


  • Glamour Magazine—an article about Virginia DeBerry & Donna Grant appeared in the Between Friends column, January 1997 issue, pg 104. The article is titled "Friend Power"
  • Essence—February 1997—Word Star column pg 56
  • Black Issues Book Review, Sept-Oct 2000, Partners in Their Prime by Sharon Fitzgerald (pg 64-66)
  • Fox After Breakfast—Feb 6, 1997
  • Good Day New York—Feb 9, 1997