Author, activist and feminist bell hooks has died, aged 69

Ain’t I a Woman? author penned more than 30 books in her expansive career, covering race, feminism, love, and compassion.

Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pseudonym bell hooks, has passed away at the age 69.

The Kentucky-based author and professor wrote more than 30 books, some of which have been translated into 15 different languages.

Credit: Monica Almeida / The New York Times/Redux

Her titles include: Ain’t I a Woman?; Black, Women and Feminism; Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center; All About Love: New Visions; We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity, and Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom.

Her family released a statement this morning, celebrating the life of the author, “The family is honored that Gloria received numerous awards, honors and international fame for her work as a poet, author, professor, cultural critic and social activist… We are proud to just call her a sister, friend, confidant and influencer.”

hooks grew up in Kentucky and attended racially segregated schools from a young age. A lot of her work discusses her experience and views surrounding the imbalance between gender, sex, race and class.

She borrowed her pen name from her great-grandmother, using lower case letters so readers would focus on the content of her writing, rather than the author.

In 1981, Ain’t I a Woman? was published, and has been considered an influential feminist text ever since.

For the last 17 years of her life, hooks taught at Berea College in Kentucky, an artistic college that offers free tuition to students.

The college opened the bell hooks institute in 2010, dedicated to continuing the legacy of the author, professor and activist.