Described by the Los Angeles Times as "a voice for the struggles of Black women in novels and short stories prized for their folksy wisdom and original voices," J. California Cooper died last week at 82 years old. The Times continued with a quote from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker: "I just loved her writing," said Walker, who discovered Cooper in the mid-1980s and became her first publisher. "She wanted to show the richness of the lives of people who often don't have much exposure. You may not know that or care or see it," Walker said, "but in fact that person on the corner has a real deep life somewhere. Her work was to expose that so you can feel connected."
Cooper was the author of seven short story collections and five novels, including "Homemade Love," which won an American Book Award in 1989, and "Life is Short but Wide," a 2009 bestseller.