Pearl Cleage Biography
Pearl Cleage is an outspoken writer whose work deals mainly with African American issues from a feminist perspective. In one of her nonfiction collections, Deals With the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot, she included an essay called “Mad at Miles,” which blasts musician Miles Davis for his mistreatment of women. Cleage rose to fame after her 1997 book What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day was featured as an Oprah's Book Club selection. Cleage also worked as a speechwriter for the first black mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson. She has written for many Atlanta newspapers and for Catalyst, a literary journal that she edits. Cleage’s degree is in drama, and she has written several plays in addition to her books, articles, and essays.
Facts and Trivia
- Cleage has been the recipient of many awards, including the Bronze Jubilee Award for Literature in 1983.
- Cleage’s 1995 play Blues for an Alabama Sky was presented during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
- She is an activist for AIDS and women's rights, and she gives talks at universities about domestic violence and writing.
- Cleage’s husband, Zaron W. Burnett, Jr., is also an author, and he often collaborates with her. They cowrote the poem “We Speak Your Names.”
- Cleage doesn’t like to give advice about writing. “If I change my mind later,” she says, “there is hard evidence to remind me of whatever I said back then that turned out to be the worst advice ever.”
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