Calaya Michelle (Reid) Stallworth has published ten contemporary African American novels under the pen name Grace Octavia with Kensington and Harlequin publishing houses. Her witty, insightful fiction, which presents wicked humor and spunk has garnered her sparkling reviews in Essence, Publisher’s Weekly, The Romantic Times, Booklist, Rawsistaz, APOOO and the Urban Reviewers.
Her first novel, Take Her Man, was a selection at the 2007 Zora Neale Hurston Literary Conference in Tulsa, Okla. and she received a best new author’s award from the national Real Ladies Read Book Club. A frequent book club selection, it earned her invitations to speak to thousands of readers at the 2008 South Carolina Book Festival and the Delta Sigma Theta national convention. Her second novel, His First Wife, was the first reading selection for the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), a Black Expressions Book Club selection, May 2008 Essence Magazine bestseller and the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award for the Romantic Times in 2008. Of her fourth novel, Playing Hard to Get, a review in Publisher’s Weekly proclaimed, “Octavia gives Sex and the City a smart Afrocentric update.”
Her 2011 release, Should Have Known Better, was selected as a featured read for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System 2012 adult summer reading program and will be read by groups throughout the public library system. The noted novel was also nominated for the Romantic Times’ 2011 top multicultural fiction novel award.
In addition to advancing her novel writing career, Calaya has worked as an editor at online publications and media outlets including America Online and RollingOut.com. She has written nonfiction and journalistic pieces for numerous media outlets. She’s also a member of Three, a film production house currently working to adapt her series concepts and novels for the big screen. Other members include producer Tabitha Mason Elliot (Bark Bark) and director Lacey Duke.
She lives in Atlanta, GA where she teaches writing at Spelman College.