Thulani Davis Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Thulani Davis is a novelist, librettist, poet, playwright, and editor. Published details about her personal life are scarce. Davis was born in Hampton, Virginia, in 1949, and in 1970, she received a degree in English from Barnard College in New York. Davis was enrolled in English graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her career as a writer, Davis has taught at Barnard College, and she is an ordained Buddhist priest.

Davis is a prolific writer. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications such as American Film, BOMB magazine, Culturefront, Emerge, Essence magazine, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Ms., The Nation, Newsday, Newsweek, The New York Times, Quarterly Black Review, The San Francisco Sun Reporter, USA Today, and The Washington Post Book World. She was an editor at The Village Voice from 1979 to 1990 and returned to The Village Voice in June, 2001.

Davis began writing poetry during her undergraduate days at Barnard. Her published verse includes Playing the Changes. Davis’s cousin, the noted pianist, improviser, and composer Anthony Davis, created the music that was played at many of her poetry readings. The two, along with Thulani’s other cousin Christopher, wrote X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, which premiered at...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Mac Austin, Hilary. “Thulani Davis.” In Literature. Vol. 2 in Facts on File Encyclopedia of Black Women in America, edited by Darlene Clark Hine. New York: Facts on File, 1997. A concise biography.

Rothstein, Edward. “X.” The New Republic 195 (December 8, 1986): 30. A critical review of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

Siegel, Jessica. “Thulani Davis: Keeping It Real.” American Theatre 15, no. 7 (September, 1998): 57. A profile of Davis at the time of a workshop production of Everybody’s Ruby.