Her pen name was J California Cooper, but Joan Cooper wrote more than 17 plays, novels and short stories. Born in Berkeley, California in 1931, she tried to be careful not to give out too much personal information.
She was the Black Playwright of the Year which led to other amazing things. Alice Walker advised her to try her hand at writing books and it turned out to be a good thing. Cooper won American Book Award for Homemade Love, James Baldwin Writing Award, and the Literary Lion Award from the American Library Association.
Her short story Funny Valentines was made into a television movie starring Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine.
“I’m a Christian” Cooper told a newspaper, “That’s all I am. If it came down to Christianity and writing, I’d let the writing go. God is bigger than a book,” Cooper said in the Washington Post in 2000.
She died at the age of 82 in 2014.