Gloria Naylor is an African American novelist and anthologist. Alongside such figures as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Toni Cade Bambara, she is a key voice in the rich outpouring of literature by African American women in the 1980s and 1990s. Her novels dramatize issues of community, connection, and identity, often through their focus on powerful but careworn women who tend to be the culture bearers for their communities. Orphans and those isolated from family, those seeking identity and community, also frequently people her fictions. Place plays an equally important role, as she tends to create very specific geographies that reflect her narrative structures. Connections interest her, as witnessed by her habit of placing at least one reference in each novel to a character or place or event from one of the others.
--From "Naylor, Gloria (1950– )." Ethnic American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students.
Sherman Alexie, a Native American whose ancestry includes both the Spokane and Coeur d' Alene tribes, emerged in the 1990s as one of the most prominent American Indian writers of his generation. In his critically acclaimed poetry, short stories, and novels, he writes about the hardships and joys of life on contemporary reservations. Alexie's works are celebrated for their detailed descriptions of the psychology and environment of the reservation. The author does not shy away from exploring the ravages of alcohol abuse that is often part of life on the reservation, but he includes a broad, universal message of hope and perseverance in his works.
From-- "Alexie, Sherman." Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of American Literature.