The Heartbreaking Death Of Author Bell Hooks

Acclaimed author, activist, poet, professor, and feminist bell hooks has died at the age of 69. Her family shared a statement with the media to share the news on Wednesday, December 15, 2021:

"The family of Gloria Jean Watkins is deeply saddened at the passing of our beloved sister on December 15, 2021. The family honored her request to transition at home with family and friends by her side."

The writer was born September 25, 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. One of seven children, Watkins grew up active in her church community, often performing poetry readings. It wasn't until later that she took the pseudonym "bell hooks" — a tribute to her mother and great-grandmother, Rosa Bell Watkins, also known as Bell Hooks, who had a great influence on her growing up. She made the choice not to capitalize her new name "to place focus on her work rather than her name, on her ideas rather than her personality" according to

bell hooks wrote over 40 books in 15 languages

Starting in 1972, hooks began a publishing career that includes over 40 books that have been published in 15 languages and influenced countless people. Her first major success was "Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism," where she "centralized the intersection of race, sex, and class at the core of black women's life" (via Her other books include 1994's "Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom" and 2003's "Rock my soul: Black people and self-esteem." She has also written poetry and several children's books, according to the Guardian.

While she was writing, hooks was also received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, a Master's in English literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and her Ph.D. at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Hooks has taught at Yale University, Oberlin College, and in 1994 accepted the Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature position at City College of New York.

"The family is honored that Gloria received numerous awards, honors, and international fame for her works as poet, author, feminist, professor, cultural critic, and social activist," the family's statement went on to read. "We are proud to just call her sister, friend, confidant, and influencer."