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Michelle Cliff

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Michelle Cliff


Michelle Cliff wmichedudialoguesimagescliffgif

Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Nonfiction

No Telephone to Heaven, Abeng, Free enterprise, If I Could Write This In Fire, The store of a million items

2 November 1946 (age 69), Kingston, Jamaica

12 June 2016 (aged 69)

Life of Michelle Cliff

Michelle Carla Cliff (2 November 1946 – 12 June 2016) was a Jamaican-American author whose notable works included Abeng, No Telephone to Heaven, and Free Enterprise.


Michelle Cliff httpsstatic01nytcomimages20160619arts19

Cliff also wrote short stories, prose poems and works of literary criticism. Her works explore the various, complex identity problems that stem from post-colonialism, as well as the difficulty of establishing an authentic, individual identity despite race and gender constructs. Cliff was a lesbian who grew up in Jamaica.

Michelle Cliff Michelle Cliff Activist and Writer 19462016 by Harriet Staff


Michelle Cliff Michelle Cliff Who Wrote of Colonialism and Racism Dies at 69

Cliff was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1946 and moved with her family to New York City three years later. She was educated at Wagner College and the Warburg Institute at the University of London. She has held academic positions at several colleges including Trinity College and Emory University.

Michelle Cliff Lambda Literary

Cliff was a contributor to the 1983 Black feminist anthology Home Girls.

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From 1999 on, Cliff was living in Santa Cruz, California, with her partner, poet Adrienne Rich. The two were partners from 1976; Rich died in 2012.

Michelle Cliff No Telephone to Heaven

Cliff died of liver failure on 12 June 2016.


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  • 2010: Into the Interior. Novel. University of Minnesota Press
  • 2009: Everything is Now: New and Collected Stories. Short stories. University Of Minnesota Press
  • 2004: Free Enterprise: A Novel of Mary Ellen Pleasant. Novel, City Lights Publishers
  • 1998: The Store of a Million Items (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company). Short stories
  • 1993: Free Enterprise: A Novel of Mary Ellen Pleasant (New York: Dutton). Novel
  • 1990: Bodies of Water (New York: Dutton). Short stories
  • 1987: No Telephone to Heaven (New York: Dutton). Novel (sequel to Abeng)
  • 1985: Abeng (New York: Penguin). Novel
  • Prose poetry

  • 1985: The Land of Look Behind and Claiming (Firebrand Books).
  • 1980: Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise (Persephone Press).
  • Editor

  • 1982: Lillian Smith, The Winner Names the Age: A Collection of Writings (New York: Norton).
  • Other

  • 2008: If I Could Write This in Fire. Non-fiction collection. University of Minnesota Press
  • 1982: "If I Could Write This in Fire I Would Write This in Fire", in Barbara Smith, ed., Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press).
  • 1994: "History as Fiction, Fiction as History", Ploughshares, Fall 1994; 20(2-3): 196-202.
  • 1990: "Object into Subject: Some Thoughts on the Work of Black Women's Artists," in Gloria Anzaldúa, ed., Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color (San Francisco: Aunt Lute), pp. 271–290.
  • Feminism

    in 1981, Cliff became an associate of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press.


    Michelle Cliff Wikipedia