Contemporary Black American Fiction Writers

By Harold Bloom | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Terry McMillan
b. 1951

TERRY L. MCMILLAN was born October 18, 1951, in Port Huron, Michigan. Her parents, Edward McMillan and Madeline Washington Tillman, were uneducated laborers who had to support six children. This task was made more difficult by the fact that Edward McMillan was an alcoholic; his death when his daughter was sixteen created still more hardship for the family. Terry McMillan took a job at a library that year, which she credits with introducing her to literature.

After graduating from high school, McMillan traveled to Los Angeles to attend a community college; she later transferred to the University of California at Berkeley. While in college she discovered black literature and also met and befriended writer and critic Ishmael Reed, who enabled her to publish her first short story, " The End," in 1976. She graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in journalism in 1979 and then briefly attended film school at Columbia University before dropping out. For the next few years she supported herself by word processing while attempting to publish various short stories and eventually being accepted into the Harlem Writers Guild.

In 1983, McMillan was accepted at the MacDowell artists colony and then the Yaddo writers colony, where she quickly produced the first draft of Mama, a highly autobiographical novel about a poor family's struggles to survive. When the novel was published in 1987, McMillan, dissatisfied with her publisher's efforts, decided to promote the novel on her own, sending over 3,000 letters to bookstores and universities and establishing her reputation as an excellent reader and speaker. Her successful debut garnered her a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1988 and was followed by Disappearing Acts in 1989. The novel concerns a rocky relationship between a well-educated woman and her construction-worker boyfriend, Franklin Swift. While a commercial and critical success, it resulted in a $4.75 million defamation suit against McMillan filed by Leonard Welch, a former lover and the father of McMillan's only child, Solomon Welch, who maintained that the novel and specifically the character of Franklin

-74-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Contemporary Black American Fiction Writers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 184

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?