Children: two. Education: Attended North Carolina Central University.
A Hustler's Wife (novel), Triple Crown Publications (Columbus, OH), 2003.
A Project Chick, Triple Crown Publications (Columbus, OH), 2003.
(With others) Girls from Da Hood, Urban Books (Dix Hills, NY), 2004.
(With others) Girls from Da Hood 2, Urban Books (Dix Hills, NY), 2005.
The Glamorous Life (novel), One World (New York, NY), 2005.
Nikki Turner Presents Street Chronicles: Tales from Da Hood 3, One World (New York, NY), 2006.
Riding Dirty on I-95 (novel), Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Nikki Turner Presents Street Chronicles: Christmas in the Hood, One World Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Nikki Turner Presents Street Chronicles: Girls in the Game, One World Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Forever a Hustler's Wife (novel), One World/Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2007.
The Black Widow, One World/Ballantine (New York, NY), 2008.
Film rights to A Hustler's Wife and Death before Dishonor have been sold.
Nikki Taylor's first novel, A Hustler's Wife, was a tremendously popular, contemporary love story set in the ghetto culture. The story concerns Des Taylor, who leads a criminal life, and his love, Yarni. The book stayed on the Essence best-seller chart for more than two years after its publication. Taylor followed up with a sequel, Forever a Hustler's Wife. In the sequel, Yarni, a lawyer, fights for Des's freedom. Having been imprisoned for ten years for a crime he did not commit, Des Taylor is finally pardoned and released. He and Yarni now have a child, but nevertheless, Des returns to his old ways. After two years of freedom, he is again framed for murder. The couple must also contend with other crimes, including another murder, a kidnapping, and an attempted rape. Rollie Welch, reviewing the book in Library Journal, found the characters somewhat "typecast" but stated that the book stands out from others in the "street-lit" genre, thanks to its "veiled editorials about the legal system and religious hypocrisy."
Turner's success with A Hustler's Wife enabled her to start her imprint, One World/Ballantine Books, with the series "Nikki Turner Presents." Her objective, she stated, was to find "great stories and original voices … stories that don't march to the same beat as other street lit," she was quoted as saying in the Black Issues Book Review. Turner, and other writers in the genre, have been criticized for presenting criminal life-styles in a glamorous way. Taylor responded to those concerns in an interview with Imani Powell for Essence, saying: "Urban lit touches on many ugly issues that we as a society don't like to discuss. It's easier to condemn it than to recognize that this lifestyle does exist. These are all issues that go on in our day-to-day lives. No matter where you live or what background you come from, these subjects exist and no one is immune. I don't glorify ‘the game,’ but I do tell an honest story."
Turner told a "gritty, fast-paced street tale with heart" in her 2006 offering, Riding Dirty on I-95, according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer. The protagonist is Mercy Jiles, a spirited young woman whose father was killed for a gambling debt when she was only seven years old. Since then, Mercy has struggled to survive despite her mother's neglect and the abuse she has suffered in various foster homes. She becomes romantically involved with C-Note, a drug dealer and murderer, who soon has Mercy transporting drugs for him. Eventually she breaks away from the relationship, but years later, after she has become a successful screenwriter, Mercy meets C-Note again. Riding Dirty on I-95 "offers a vivid, nonjudgmental glimpse into a world of broken ambitions, backstabbers and self-loathers," stated a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Black Issues Book Review, March 1, 2004, "Nikki Turner," p. 8; September 1, 2006, "Urban Lit Goes Legit: Authors Headline New Ventures to Bring Street Cred into the World of Corporate Publishing," p. 20.
Booklist, April 15, 2005, Lilian Lewis, review of The Glamorous Life, p. 1434; March 1, 2006, Lillian Lewis, review of Riding Dirty on I-95, p. 70.
Bookseller, November 18, 2005, "50 Cent to Pen Street Fiction from S&S," p. 7.
Ebony, April, 2007, Lynette R. Holloway, "5 Questions for Nikki Turner," p. 38.
Essence, May, 2007, Imani Powell, "Hustle & Flow: Nikki Turner, the Self-Proclaimed Queen of Hip-Hop Fiction, Addresses Her Detractors and Talks about Her New Novel," p. 92.
Library Journal, March 1, 2007, Rollie Welch, review of Forever a Hustler's Wife, p. 78.
Publishers Weekly, February 20, 2006, review of Riding Dirty on I-95, p. 133; February 5, 2007, review of Forever a Hustler's Wife, p. 42.
Fountain Bookstore,http://www.fountainbookstore.com/ (October 8, 2007), biographical information on Nikki Turner.
Nikki Turner Home Page,http://www.nikkiturner.com (October 8, 2007).
Publishers Weekly Online,http://www.publishersweekly.com/ (April 27, 2006), "One World Launches Nikki Turner Book Line."
Tayari Jones's Blog,http://www.tayarijones.com/ (May 11, 2006), "Nikki Turner Presents …"