Willett LaSandra Thomas, born June 15, 1963 in Stamford, Connecticut to Gertrude Redden and Willis Lacey Thomas, was the founder and President of Write of Passage, Inc.
She earned her MA in writing from Johns Hopkins and received artist fellowships from Blue Mountain Center and the Millay Colony. Willett was selected as a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation fellow for the District of Columbia and was the recipient of the 2008 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange award for fiction.
Her e-book fictional novel, 'Raised by Hand, Lifted By Tides' showcases her love of Southern Gothic literature and reminds us the role we all play in creating a better world. Reviewers and readers praised her work.
In 2013, BET National News covered how she redefined her long-term personal and career goals after a hard financial setback. And earlier this year, she wrote a Fifty Fiction piece for Huffington Post titled, ‘In The Word’ that continued to prove her storytelling abilities by captivating all types of readers.
It’s with great sadness that her family, friends, and colleagues learn of her death today in her Baltimore, Maryland home. She was a remarkable woman with so much talent and intelligent. (Please click here to read Caryn Coyle's remarks about Willett.)
A few weeks ago, Willett reflected on the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou and wrote, “I remember sitting in the pantry where my mother stashed all her books and reading my first "grownup" book: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Wondering as I did, how did she do this magic and if someday I might be able to do the same?”
It’s my prayer that she’s now able to visit with Dr. Angelou and all the other great novelists that inspired her to become a writer and learn more about their sweet love affair with the written word.
Rest in peace, sweet sister. I’ll never forget the love, laughter, and tears we shared together.
Willett wrote many short stories but one that captured the voice of a young
Baltimore child was Shorondra Reynolds” or “The Siditty Clerk Typist in B-3. When she first let me read it, she explained "Baltimore is filled with 'brownstone stories' that start right outside my window."
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