(New York, NY) — PEN America reacted to the passing of esteemed author Gloria Jean Watkins who wrote under the pen name bell hooks.

“PEN America mourns the death of bell hooks, an inspirational author, professor, and activist. We are beyond grateful for her work on race, gender, and class, as well as her impact on the feminist literary canon,” said Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, senior director of literary programs at PEN America. “Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism and her other more than 30 books inspired a generation of writers, and in particular, Black women writers, their scholarship, and their practice. Her commitment to transformative education, feminist theory, and community building is unparalleled and we join the wider literary community in honoring bell hooks’s life work and legacy, which continues to influence the next generation of writers, thinkers, and readers.”