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Angelou's work:
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

It is difficult to separate Maya Angelou's life and her work. When she was raped, she did not tell anyone about it at first. But when she did finally tell her brother, Bailey, he told their mother and soon everyone knew. There was a court case, 'Mr. Freeman' was jailed but released the same day, and the very next day he was found dead. In I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings she describes the impact that these events had on her life. She described the same experience on archive recordings and in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

"I was 7 and a half and I thought that my voice had killed him, that if I hadn't spoken his name, if I hadn't spoken, that the man would still be alive and so I took responsibility for his death and stopped talking. I thought I could talk to Bailey because somehow, my brother was beyond everything, he couldn't be touched. I mean God himself would not have struck Bailey, so I could talk to Bailey"
Maya Angelou

I had to stop talking

The first volume of her autobiography ends with the birth of Angelou's illegitimate child. She had gone from being a mute young girl, to becoming a star pupil, winning a scholarship to study drama and dance. She graduated from high school just a few months before giving birth to her son, Clyde. She hadn't told anyone she was pregnant until three weeks before the birth.

Look at the baby

publication details

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (1969), Virago
And Still I Rise (poems) (1986), Virago
Even the Stars Look Lonesome (poems)(1998), Virago

life events
key influences and themes
Angelou's work
the next chapter
being a woman writer
  Women Writers
  Ama Ata Aidoo
  Meena Alexander
  Shashi Deshpande
  Margaret Drabble
  Buchi Emecheta
  Jamaica Kincaid
  Doris Lessing
  Bharati Mukherjee
  Michele Roberts
  Helen Simpson

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