Gwendoline Y. Fortune has always been an avid reader and describes herself as a seeker. She describes her first novel as an adventure into revelation, remembrance, and reconciliation, a story that will ring true to readers across genders and racial backgrounds.
Born in Houston, Texas, her mother often shared stories of relatives from both sides of her family: Native Americans, Scots-Irishmen, a free-born black great-grandfather, a Confederate great-grandfather, a cowboy grandfather, and relatives who were missionaries in pre-World War II China. She was inspired to write Growing Up Nigger Rich, a project she started as a fifteen-year-old college freshman at Bennett College because "Every story I read about my people they’re barefoot, pregnant, and in the field. I know a different life and I never read about the kind of people I know."
Dr. Fortune began writing professionally in 1981 and has since won a number of prestigious grants and awards. Selections from Growing Up Nigger Rich were finalists in the annual Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society competition and the National Black Writers’ Conference Awards.
Active in community organizations, Dr. Fortune enjoys singing with the Chapel-Hill Carrboro Community Choir and is actively involved in writer’s organizations nationwide. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Writers’ Network and the Off-Campus Writers Network. Education has always been a high priority, and Dr. Fortune holds advanced degrees in education, social science, and social science education. She is active in the alumni associations of Bennett College, J. C. Smith, Roosevelt, and Nova Southeastern Universities.
Dr. Fortune lives in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, where she offers individual, relationship, and group courses and human growth counseling in her home. She has three sons and one granddaughter.