About Terry

“Her poems are reflective of African American culture and at the same time underscore our universal humanity.”

—Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California

Bestselling author, Terry a O’Neal, whose poetry has been published in numerous magazines, journals and newspapers around the world has been named among the most popular African American female writers of our time, featured in a book entitled “Literary Divas: The Top 100+ Most Admired African American Women in Literature”–a list of women who’ve left a mark on the wider world through their writing.

Her previous publications include three volumes of poetry, Motion Sickness, The Poet Speaks in Black and Good Mornin’ Glory; two children’s books Ev’ry Little Soul and My Jazz Shoes; the award-winning southern fiction novel Sweet Lavender; and her latest (2014) release of The Sparrow’s Plight: Woes of a 21st Century Black Poet with an introduction by Rudolph Lewis.

Eventually, O’Neal ventured into the world of screenwriting, focusing on inspirational feature films for family audiences. She has written three full-length dramas, including her most popular screenplay, “The Healing Ground”,  that is an adaptation of her award-winning novel, Sweet Lavender. 

Her works are world renowned, recognized in South Africa, Iran, Jamaica, Australia, Canada, Bermuda, and across America. In March 2004, her poetry was translated into the Persian language and featured in the Persian Magazine Golestaneh. In addition, O’Neal has been featured on PBS, CNN, KVIE, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, FOX, and a host of television, radio, and print media programs.

O’Neal is well-known for her dedication and time devoted to uplifting today’s youth, encouraging them to “carry out their dream, no matter how unlikely it may seem.” Part of her work with adolescence includes the publication, Make Some Noise! A Youth Poetry Anthology, an anthology for youth ages 12-18, which O’Neal edits and publishes independently.

In 2017, a special edition of the anthology was released: Make Some Noise IV! A Baton Rouge Youth Poetry Anthology, featuring the poignant poetry, prose, and short stories of Baton Rouge teens. The works in this collection focus on the Great Louisiana flood, the tragic police shootings in Baton Rouge Parish, social awareness, race, and relevant personal issues that today’s youth face in their day-to-day lives.

In addition to her writing accomplishments, she is the VP and Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Lend Your Hand, Inc. Educating the World’s Children; and the Founder of the National Black History Bee, a program devised to test students’ knowledge on African-American history facts in the form of a trivia competition.

Some of her upcoming works include Darling, a southern fiction novel; the documentary Hope of Finding Son: The Maurice Red Jefferson Story; and Sweet Lavender, a stage adaptation.

PBS / KVIE features Author, Poet & Screenwriter Terry a O’Neal