Celebrated playwright and novelist Shay Youngblood dies at 64

Celebrated playwright and novelist Shay Youngblood has passed away at the age of 64 in Peachtree City, GA, due to ovarian cancer, her friend Kelley Alexander confirmed, per bookriot.com. Youngblood’s influential works 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, all of which focused on the lives of Black women and Black queer women.

Renowned children’s author Jacqueline Woodson reflected, “The Black girl writing world is especially small and the Black queer girl writing world is even smaller, so we’ve known each other 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.”

Despite a film adaptation of Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery never materialising, Youngblood used funds from Sidney Poitier’s optioning of the project to attend Brown University in the early ’90s. 

Currently, a film adaptation of Black Girl in Paris is being developed by author Natalie Baszile. 

Youngblood leaves behind no immediate family.

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