Author bell hooks Dies at 69

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Acclaimed author, poet, and activist bell hooks died this week at the age of 69, following an undisclosed illness.

On Wednesday, Kentucky’s Berea College, where hooks taught, issued a statement noting that hooks had passed away.

"Berea College is deeply saddened about the death of bell hooks, Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies, prodigious author, public intellectual, and one of the country's foremost feminist scholars. She died at her home in Berea after an extended illness," wrote the college.

hooks, who was given the name Gloria Jean Watkins at birth, used the pen name “bell hooks,” stylized in all lowercase letters as an homage to her mother and maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. She published her first work, a book of poetry titled And There We Wept, under the pen name in 1978. She decided not to capitalize her name “to place focus on her work rather than her name, on her ideas rather than her personality,” according to

A prolific writer on race, class, gender, place, and sexuality, hooks published more than 30 books over the course of her lifetime. Some of her most notable works include her debut book, Ain't I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, published in 1981, and All About Love, published in 1999.

In their statement on hooks’ passing, Berea College shared that they are “grateful for her contributions to the campus community and will celebrate her life and legacy through the bell hooks center that opened on campus in fall 2021.”

“The bell hooks Institute at Berea College will continue to be a valuable and informative beacon to her life’s work, continuing to remind humans that life is all about love. In her words, ‘To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds,’” they wrote.

Tags: Black Women

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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