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  • Virago
  • Virago
  • Virago
  • Little, Brown Audio
  • Virago
  • Little, Brown Audio

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings: The internationally bestselling classic

Maya Angelou

5 Reviews

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Nathaniel Drinkwater, Biography: general, Autobiography: general, Biography: literary, Autobiography: literary, Prose: non-fiction

Maya Angelou's phenomenal seven volume autobiography is now available on the Virago Modern Classics list.

A beautiful new edition of I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, the iconic, beloved and deeply moving first volume of Maya Angelou's autobiography.

The international classic and bestseller, Maya Angelou's memoir paints a portrait of 'a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman' BARACK OBAMA

'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 this first volume of her seven books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination, violence and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement and celebration.

'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity' JAMES BALDWIN

'She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace . . . She will always be the rainbow in my clouds' OPRAH WINFREY

'She was important in so many ways. She launched African American women writing in the United States. She was a real original. There is no duplicate' TONI MORRISON

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Praise for I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings: The internationally bestselling classic

  • A brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman

  • The poems and stories she wrote . . . were gifts of wisdom and wit, courage and grace

  • She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace . . . She will always be the rainbow in my clouds

  • She was important in so many ways. She launched African American women writing in the United States. She was generous to a fault. She had nineteen talents - used ten. And was a real original. There is no duplicate

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was one of the world's most important writers and activists. Born 4 April 1928, she lived and chronicled an extraordinary life: rising from poverty, violence and racism, she became a renowned author, memoirist, poet, playwright, civil rights' activist - working with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. She wrote and performed a poem, 'On the Pulse of Morning', for President Clinton on his inauguration. She was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and was honoured by more than seventy universities throughout the world.

She first thrilled the world with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). This was followed by six volumes of autobiography, the seventh and final volume, Mom & Me & Mom, published in 2013. She wrote three collections of essays; many volumes of poetry, including His Day is Done, a tribute to Nelson Mandela; and two cookbooks. She had a lifetime appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University of North Carolina. She died in 2014.

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