Ntozake Shange is a writer, educator, and poet. She was born Paulette Williams in Trenton, New Jersey on October 18, 1948. Shange graduated from Barnard College in 1970 and entered the University of California, Los Angeles, earning a master's degree in 1973. It was while in graduate school that she adopted her African name. Shange taught writing and took part in poetry readings and dance performances. She taught drama and creative writing at several colleges and universities, including Yale and Howard. In 1983, Shange became associate professor of drama at the University of Houston. Shange wrote For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, a choreopoem that opened on Broadway in 1976. The show won an Obie Award and was nominated for an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy. Shange also wrote the trilogy, Three Pieces, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry in 1981. She also received an Obie in 1981 for her adaptation of Bertold Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. Shange has also published novels, collections of poetry, and a children's book.
Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor is a poet, actress, culinary anthropologist, and writer. She is the author ofThursdays and Every Other Sunday Off: A Domestic Rap,Vertamae Cooks in the Americasrsquo; Family Kitchen, andVertamae Cooks Again: More Recipes from the Americasrsquo; Family Kitchen. She has served as a correspondent and host for National Public Radio and written for theNew York Times, theVillage Voice, theWashington Post,Life,Ebony, andEssence.