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Bookmark and ShareJ. California CooperJ. California Cooper

Novelist, Playwright & Short Story Writer
NYS Writers Institute, Thursday, April 27, 2006
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus

J. California Cooper is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and playwright whose work explores the intimate lives and struggles of African American women.

"Whenever I want to relax I make a cup of good Egyptian coffee . . . and read or reread something by J. California. She's my favorite storyteller…What a gift she has of painting such a truthful yet warm picture of us humans. What a song she sings." - Poet Nikki Giovanni

"My fifth grade teacher, who has since become one of my friends, one day said, 'Instead of calling and asking me for advice, try reading J. California Cooper.'" - Actress Halle Berry, Oprah's "O. Magazine"Wild Starts Seeking Midnight Suns

Cooper's latest book is "Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns "(2006), a collection of tales about Black women looking for happiness in the pursuit of love and money.

"Warm-hearted, earthy and sly. As enjoyable as a favorite relative who has all the dirt on the other family members in the room." - "Kirkus Reviews"

"Cooper's stories beckon. It is as if she is patting the seat next to her, enticing us to come sit and listen as she tells complex tales about women, often poor women, chasing dreams of love, a house, and a family." - "Ms." Magazine

Cooper's most recent novel is "Some People, Some Other Place" (2004), a working class saga narrated by an unborn child. The story examines the multigenerational effects of poverty, and spans the movement of the Great Migration, from the post-Civil War South to the urban ghetto of Chicago.

"[In] its attention to domestic detail and 'everyday life,' it may tell us more about African American life than the literary flights of Alice Walker or Toni Morrison…. I was hypnotized. I was helpless. I couldn't stop reading." - Carolyn See, "Washington Post"

Cooper's other recent books include the novel, "The Wake of the Wind" (1998), and the story collections, "The Future Has a Past" (2000), and "Homemade Love" (1986), winner of the American Book Award. Her short story, "Funny Valentines," was adapted for Black Entertainment Television in a production directed by Julie Dash. Cooper is also the author of nearly twenty stage plays. Her 1978 play, "Strangers," earned her the title of San Francisco's "Black Playwright of the Year."

She has received the Literary Lion Award and the James Baldwin Writing Award of the American Library Association.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.