The Salt Eaters

The Salt Eaters


'A book full of marvels' New Yorker

The American Deep South, in the 1970s. Velma Henry, once a formidable political activist, has grown weary and disillusioned with the fight for civil rights. She wants to end it all. But then she finds herself in the hands of a Black faith community, and the fabled healer Minnie Ransom. As she works through the rage and fear of her traumatic past, Velma finds herself changing, becoming whole and, maybe, free. The Salt Eaters is a boldly optimistic, profound exploration of memory, the self, power and Black health as liberation.

'A hymn to individual courage' The Times Literary Supplement

'Her characters inhabit the nonlinear, sacred space and sacred time of traditional African religion' The New York Times Book Review


  • A long, rich dream
    Anne Tyler

About the author

Toni Cade Bambara

Author, teacher, activist and filmmaker Toni Cade Bambara was born in Harlem, New York in 1939. After graduating from Queens College in 1959, she worked as a social investigator, and then in the psychiatry department of New York City's Metropolitan Hospital. She studied acting and mime in Florence and Paris, received an MA in 1964 from City College of New York, and went on to lecture in English at CUNY, Livingston College, and other universities. Bambara's involvement in the Black liberation and women's movements led her to edit and publish one of the first major anthologies of Black women's writing, The Black Woman, in 1970; the following year she published a collection of folktales, Tales and Stories for Black Folks, which celebrated what she dubbed 'Our Great Kitchen Tradition'. In 1972, Bambara published her debut collection of short stories, Gorilla, My Love, and then, in 1980, her first novel, The Salt Eaters, which won the American Book Award and the Langston Hughes Society Award. Upon her death in 1995, The New York Times praised Bambara as 'a major contributor to the emerging genre of contemporary black women's literature'. Her legacy was recognised with a posthumous induction into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2013.
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