J. California Cooper, Joan California Cooper, is an African-Americanplaywright and author. She is the writer of 17 plays and the winner of Black Playwright of the Year in 1978.
Alice Walker has said of Cooper: "Her style is deceptively simple and direct and the vale of tears in which her characters reside is never so deep that a rich chuckle at a foolish person's foolishness cannot be heard." It was at the encouragement of Walker that Cooper turned from her claim to fame in the theater and started writing short stories. Her first collection was entitled A Piece of Mine, published in 1984. Two other story collections followed, before the release of her first novel Family in 1991.
J. California Cooper also wrote a short story entitled, "Funny Valentines", which was later turned into a 1999 TV movie starring Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine.