Gloria Naylor, the Award-Winning Author of The Women of Brewster Place, Dead at 66

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Gloria Naylor, author of the National Book Award–winning novel The Women of Brewster Place, which would go on to become a bestseller and a popular miniseries starring Oprah Winfrey, died near her home in Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands, reports the New York Times. She was 66. Naylor's books, which also included Linden Hills (1985), Bailey’s Cafe (1992), and, the follow-up to her earlier work, The Men of Brewster Place (1998), were applauded for their nuanced look at social and political issues, particularly those faced by black women living in America. Naylor was born in Manhattan in 1950, attended Brooklyn College where she studied English, and received her masters in African-American studies at Yale University. The Women of Brewster Place, her debut novel, followed the lives of seven women living in the same urban housing project. In addition to winning the National Book Award for first novel in 1983, the bestseller also received the American Book Award. Naylor's other honors included National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships. As a college professor, she taught at New York University and University of Pennsylvania. She is survived by her sister, a niece, and a nephew.