bell hooks, revered feminist author, poet and professor poet, has died. The news was announced by Berea College, where hooks taught.
"Berea College is deeply saddened about the death of bell hooks, Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies, prodigious author, public intellectual and one of the country's foremost feminist scholars," the college wrote.
Her first book was 1981s Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, and hooks, *who insisted on all lowercase letters in her name), critiqued mainstream feminism as marginalizing of Black women and other non-white, non-middle class women.
The acclaimed writer died at home after an "extended illness," according to Berea College. Dr. hooks, born Gloria Jean Watkins, drew acclaim as a writer on race, sex, gender, class and society. "I have this phrase that I use, 'working with the work,'" hooks said in a 2015 interview with The New York Times. "So if somebody comes up to me, and they have one of those bell hooks books that's abused and battered, and every page is underlined, I know they've been working with the work. And that's where it is for me."
hooks famously conducted one of the most infamous interviews with rapper Lil Kim, for PAPER magazine in 1997.
"More dangerous than any words that come out of Lil' Kim's mouth," hooks wrote at the time. "Are the forces of repressive puritanical morality that seek to silence her."
Her pen name was an homage to her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks; and she preferred her name in lowercase letters to put more focus on the “substance of books, not who I am.” She returned to her native Kentucky and Berea College in 2004.