‘I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it’s like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again’ Maya Angelou
In 2024 Dr. Maya Angelou’s seven volume collection of autobiographical writing is moving to the Virago Modern Classics list. The collection will have a beautiful new look, putting Dr. Angelou front and centre and includes:
VOLUME ONE: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
VOLUME TWO: Gather Together In My Name
VOLUME THREE: Singin’ & Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas
VOLUME FOUR: The Heart of a Woman
VOLUME FIVE: All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes
VOLUME SIX: A Song Flung Up to Heaven
VOLUME SEVEN: Mom and Me and Mom
This set of books take us through her extraordinary life, from the American south of the 1930s to 1964 and the precipice of change where we find Maya working alongside her friends Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. The collection is a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer.
‘A brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman’ – President Barack Obama
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Arguably the most famous of the seven volume set, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings beautifully evokes Maya Angelou’s childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother’s lover.
In the sequel to her bestselling I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou is a young mother in California, unemployed, embarking on brief affairs and transient jobs in shops and night-clubs, turning to prostitution and the world of narcotics. Maya Angelou powerfully captures the struggles and triumphs of her passionate life with dignity, wisdom, humour and humanity.
In this her third marvellous volume, music and her son are the focus of Maya Angelou’s life. She is on the edge of a new world: marriage, show business and a triumphant tour of Porgy and Bess.
The Heart of a Woman is the fourth volume of Angelou’s enthralling autobiography. In this volume we find her immersed in the world of black writers and artists in Harlem, working in the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King.
All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes
In the fifth volume, Maya Angelou emigrates to Ghana only to discover that ‘you can’t go home again’ but she comes to a new awareness of love and friendship, civil rights and slavery – and the myth of mother Africa.
It is 1964 and Maya Angelou is on her way back home, leaving behind her beloved – and now seriously teenage – son Guy, to finish university in Ghana. America is pulsing with the challenge of change, the civil rights movement is in full swing and that’s where Maya Angelou wants to be, working alongside her friends Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. In this marvellous account, Maya Angelou provides, with her customary wisdom, compassion and wit, a first-hand record of an extraordinarily exciting and tragic political period. She writes of ‘Jimmy’ Baldwin, Eldridge Cleaver, and of friends and family, and finishes with the beginnings of her career as one of America’s most impressive memoir writers.
In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou details what brought her mother to send her away and unearths the well of emotions Angelou experienced long afterward as a result. While Angelou’s six autobiographies tell of her out in the world, influencing and learning from statesmen and cultural icons, Mom & Me & Mom shares the intimate, emotional story about her own family.