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Valerie Wilson Wesley

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Information about Valerie Wilson Wesley

Profile image of Valerie Wilson Wesley

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Author

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple, Maroon, Turquoise
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Life Goes On, There's Always Tomorrow.

Birthplace

Born:
11/22/1947
Birth Location:
Willimantic, Connecticut

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Author

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple, Maroon, Turquoise
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Life Goes On, There's Always Tomorrow.

Birthplace

Born:
11/22/1947
Birth Location:
Willimantic
See how Valerie Wilson Wesley is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Author Valerie Wilson Wesley was born on November 22, 1947 in Willimantic, Connecticut to Bertram W. Wilson and Mary Wilson. Wesley attended Howard University, where she earned her B.A. degree in 1970. She went on to receive two M.A. degrees, one from the Bank Street College of Education and another from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Wesley began her career as an associate editor for Scholastic News in 1970, where she remained until 1972. In 1988, she joined Essence magazine as the travel editor. Wesley served in many editing positions at the magazine. She served as executive editor from 1992 until 1996 and as contributing editor from 1994 until 1997. Wesley has also served as a writer for Essence. In 2005, she was named as an artist-in-residence at Columbia College of Chicago, Illinois. Wesley also served as an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2013.

Wesley was the author of numerous works in genres including mystery, romance, children’s, and nonfiction. She was the author of the Tamara Hayle Mysteries series, as well as the Willemena Rules! childrens book series. Wesley also wrote: Where Do I Go from Here?, which won the American Library Association’s Best Book for Reluctant Readers citation in 1993, When Death Comes Stealing, and Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, which received the Award for Excellence in Adult Fiction from the American Library Association Black Caucus in 2000. Wesley was the recipient of the Griot Award from the New York chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists in 1993, and the Author of the Year Award from Amigirls Book Club in 2004, in addition to being named the author of the year by the Go Go, Girls Book Club.

An active participant in community organizations, Wesley was a board member of Sisters of Crime, a professional organization committed to fighting discrimination against women who write mystery novels, and was a member of the board of directors for the Newark Arts Council. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Montclair Art Museum and the YWCA of North Essex, New Jersey.

Wesley and her husband, Richard Wesley, have two daughters, Nandi and Thembi.

Valerie Wilson Wesley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 30, 2017.

See how Valerie Wilson Wesley is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Valerie Wilson Wesley's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her mother's education and aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about how her parents met and married
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her father's service as a Tuskegee Airman
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her father's legacy as a Tuskegee Airman
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her sister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers her father's deployment to the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her community in Ashford, Connecticut
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers discrimination in Ashford, Connecticut
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her early interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers living in Madrid, Spain
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her experiences during high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her literary instruction in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers Kaiserslautern High School in Germany
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers the political atmosphere at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls majoring in philosophy at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her early experiences of religions
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers meeting her husband at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers meeting her husband at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about influence of philosophy on her writing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her work in early childhood education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers her marriage to Richard Wesley
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls joining the Harlem Writer's Guild, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls joining the Harlem Writer's Guild, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her decision to attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her position at Scholastic News
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers joining Essence magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her role as senior editor of Essence
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her writing schedule in the late 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her writing process
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her strategy for writing young adult fiction
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her article, 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her book, 'Where Do We Go From Here?'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the adventures of her heroine, Tamara Hayle pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the adventures of her heroine, Tamara Hayle pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the possibility for television adaptations of her stories
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her research for her books
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes the inspiration behind her work
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her favorite books
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the business aspect of publishing
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her written works
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley narrates her photographs