Writer and Playwright J. California Cooper Dies at 82

The prolific author's award-winning work includes 17 published plays and several novels and short story collections.

Literary giant J. California Cooper passed away at the age of 82 on Saturday, reports.

Throughout her prolific career, the Berkeley, Calif., native published 17 plays and was named Black Playwright of the Year in 1978, among many other awards for her outstanding writing. Cooper was also well known for her published novels and short story collections, including the 1999 story Funny Valentine, which was made into a television movie starring Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine.

“I didn’t write for applause. I’m glad it came, no doubt about it. But I wrote because I’ve been — I was telling stories before I could write,” Cooper told NPR in 2006. "I played with paper dolls ’til I was 18 and nobody even knew my stories except my mother. You know, you do what you do.”

Cooper passed gently beside her beloved daughter Paris Williams in her home in Seattle.

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(Photo: Courtesy Art Sanctuary)

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