Shay Youngblood, Author and Playwright, Has Died at 64

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Shay Youngblood, playwright and novelist, has passed away in Peachtree City, GA at the age of 64. Her friend, Kelley Alexander, said the cause of death was ovarian cancer.

Youngblood’s works, which include the short story collection The Big Mama Stories (1989), the novels Soul Kiss (1997) and Black Girl in Paris (2000), and her first play, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, centered the lives of Black women and Black queer women.

Children’s author Jacqueline Woodson said “The Black girl writing world is especially small and the Black queer girl writing world is even smaller, so we’ve known each for a long time, but Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery was the first work of hers I read, and I just fell in love with it.”

Though the film was never made, Youngblood used the money she got from Sidney Poitier optioning Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery as a film project to attend Brown University in the early ’90s. A film adaptation of Black Girl in Paris is currently being made by author Natalie Baszile (Queen Sugar).

Youngblood isn’t survived by any immediate family members.

To read more about Youngblood’s life and works, visit The New York Times.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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