Terry McMillan

When Terry McMillan published "Waiting to Exhale" in 1992, it was a game-changer. It sold 4 million copies, spent 38 weeks on the bestseller list, and showed the publishing world that there was an audience for the stories of intelligent, successful, flawed and still-struggling women who were solidly middle-class and black.

Essence magazine will host the first-annual Essence Literary Awards in New York City on Feb. 7, 2008. The awards, created to celebrate both emerging and established African-American authors, will be co-hosted by “Today” show co-anchor Hoda Kotb and Dr. Ian Smith of VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club.” Awards finalists in nine categories––Fiction, Memoir, Inspiration, Non-fiction, Current Affairs, Photography, Children’s Books, Poetry and Storyteller of the Year––were announced yesterday. The winner of the Storyteller of the Year Award will be decided by Essence readers, who will have an opportunity to vote on Essence.com from Jan. 1-15, 2008. Finalists in that category are Eric Jerome Dickey, Lori

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