Photo Credit: Noel Furie

Michelle Cliff was a Jamaican-American author who wrote poetry and literary criticism. Originally from Jamaica, her family moved to New York when she was three years old. When she was 10, the family move back to Jamaica. She returned to New York in 1960 and attended Wagner College for her B.A.

“Who can say how many lives have been saved by books?”

She worked as a Production Editor for W.W. Norton and Company in the 1970s. Cliff was focused on making sure that suppressed and minority voices were heard. She worked on many anthologies and poems, including her most notable novels, which were Abeng (1985), No Telephone to Heaven (1987), and Free Enterprise (2004).

Our lives are written in disappearing ink.”

She wrote about identity, racism, and feminism in many of her works. She was one of the contributors for Home Girls (1983), an anthology from Black feminists. Cliff died in June of 2016, but her works live on as a reminder of what she stood for.