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Internationally acclaimed author, professor and activist Gloria Jean Watkins, known by her pen name bell hooks, is remembered after her passing at the age of 69 following a long illness.

The news of her passing was announced in a statement by her family, saying: ‘The family of Gloria Jean Watkins is deeply saddened at the passing of our beloved sister on December 15, 2021. The family honoured her request to transition at home with family and friends by her side.’ Read the full statement from her family below.

Gloria Jean Watkins was born on September 25, 1952, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Watkins took the name bell hooks in honour of her great-grandmother, however made the choice to use lower case lettering in the spelling, to distinguish her own identity.

Author of Ain’t I a Woman? and All About Love: New Visions, amongst many other titles, bell hooks was a visionary, whose impactful presence in feminism and social activism throughout her life was influenced by both her personal history and professional scholarship. She held a particular focus on the intersections of class, race and gender, and described her definition of feminism as ‘a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression’. Her written works are published in 15 languages around the world, and number at 40 books.

Throughout her remarkable career she taught at many prestigious institutions, including Yale University, and in 2004 founded a centre for education in her name. Her impact on her contemporaries and fans is perhaps best described by fellow writer Roxane Gay.

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