Benilde Little Joins MSF Board


Benilde is a bestselling author whose groundbreaking fiction challenges entrenched stereotypes of African-Americans. She was among the first authors to put on the page intelligent, edgy stories about class and relationships among contemporary Black Americans.

Her debut novel, Good Hair, which was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, explored the world of the black upper middle class. Good Hair was required reading at Benilde’s alma mater, Howard University and has been taught at Smith College. It was #1 for many months on the Essence bestseller list and was on the extended bestseller list of the New York Times.

In addition to her three other novels, The Itch, Acting Out and Who Does She Think She Is?, she has written a poignant memoir, Welcome to My Breakdown about what happened when the death of her beloved mother and the loss of her cherished father-in-law coincided with menopause, a cancer scare, and near financial collapse.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and numerous anthologies, including and The Meaning of Michelle, Honey Hush and About Face. She was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award and the Hurston Wright award. A former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star Ledger and People magazine, and a senior editor at Essence, Little has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, People Magazine, NPR among others.

She has been a creative writing professor at Ramapo College, The City College of New York and currently teaches writing at The Writers Circle in Montclair and conducts a memoir-writing workshop in Newark.

Little is the very proud mother of her adult daughter Baldwin, who lives and works in Los Angeles and teenage son Ford, who attends High Point University in North Carolina.

She lives in Montclair with her husband Cliff Virgin.


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