Gloria Naylor, whose debut novel The Women of Brewster Place, became a best-seller, a National Book Award winner and a TV miniseries released through Oprah Winfrey's production company, has died at the age of 66.
Naylor's death was confirmed Monday to The Associated Press by Cara Reilly, an assistant at the literary agency Sterling Lord Literistic. Reilly provided no other details about Naylor's death. Fellow authors soon paid tribute on Twitter, with Terry McMillan urging her followers to "read everything Gloria Naylor has ever written" and Tayari Jones thanking her for choosing her for a literary award in 2000 and helping to launch her career.
Naylor's other books included Linden Hills, Mama Day and Bailey's Cafe.
The Women of Brewster Place is Naylor's self-described "love letter" to a determined community of seven African-American women in a decaying housing project, the exact location unspecified. It was published in 1982 and praised by The New York Times as "emotionally satisfying and technically accomplished," with Brewster Place itself the narrative's star. "Brewster Place" won the National Book Award for best first fiction and was often likened to novels by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker among others as landmark books by black women.
Naylor, who grew up in New York City, would credit her mother for making "Brewster Place" possible.