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Michelle Cliff Biography

(1946– ), Abeng, No Telephone to Heaven, Claiming an Identity They Taught Me To Despise

Jamaican novelist, poet, short-story writer, and editor, born in Kingston, Jamaica, educated at Wagner College and at the Warburg Institute, London University. She began writing after becoming involved in the women's movement in the 1970s and has become internationally known through essays, articles, lectures, and workshops on racism and feminism. Race, gender, and power are recurring themes in Cliff's writing. The main protagonist of her novels, Abeng (1984) and No Telephone to Heaven (1987), is Clare Savage, a light-skinned Jamaican who first comes to realize the relationship between colour and status, and then becomes a revolutionary. Cliff has also written autobiographical works, poetry, and prose poems, including Claiming an Identity They Taught Me To Despise (1980) and The Land of Look Behind: Prose and Poetry (1985). More recent fiction includes a collection of short stories, Bodies of Water (1990), and Free Enterprise (1993), a novel.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cheltenham Gloucestershire to Cockermouth Cumbria