|Gloria Watkins uses the pseudonym bell hooks in order to honor her grandmother. Gloria Watkins studied at Stanford University and has taught at Oberlin, Yale University, and at the City University of New York, where she has been Distinguished Professor of English. She wrote her first book, AIN'T I A WOMAN, at age 19, though it was published many years later. In it, she stresses the need for black feminists to have a voice and for that perspective to be valued. Hooks is a prolific writer, whose principle topics are feminist theory, race, gender, representation, and herself. Her memoir BONE BLACK describes her childhood in the South. In WOUNDS OF PASSION she chronicles a painful romantic relationship while struggling to find a publisher for her manuscript and to gain recognition. In TEACHING TO TRANSGRESS she advocates an engaged teaching practice, and makes pedagogy an important aspect of changing society. All of her books show her to be an engaged social critic. OUTLAW CULTURE: Resisting Representations addresses topics from popular culture that are marginal yet meaningful. She is also a strong advocate of "decolonizing the mind," and overcoming "internalized oppression." Hooks has spoken of the influence of Franz Fanon on her teaching. She has also been influenced by the Buddhist practitioner Thich Nhat Hanh, and she has written for Shambhala Sun magazine.