Wahida Clark, via MadameNoire

Now known as the “Queen of Street Lit,” Wahida Clark stands as a strong testament to the amount that felons — even currently incarcerated felons — can achieve. Clark served nearly ten years in federal prison for mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.

While incarcerated, Clark wrote seven novels and signed a deal with a major publishing house. After her release in 2007, she founded her own company Wahida Clark Presents Publishing. She has written thirteen books to date, including three New York Times bestsellers. Wahida Clark Presents has released 26 novels to date and raked in over $1 million in sales. Clark is also signed to Cash Money Content, the publishing wing of the well-known Cash Money Records label that boasts such artists as Nikki Minaj and Drake.

Clark told JET that she didn’t have any designs on becoming a writer. However, shortly after her arrest, she found herself in a precarious position: she and her husband were both incarcerated, she had two teenage daughters on the outside, and her home was about to go into foreclosure.

While in the prison library one day, Clark read an article about Shannon Holmes, who wrote the street lit book B-More Careful while in prison. Inspired, Clark decided to write her own book. Afterward, she wrote Carl Weber, an urban fiction author whose name she had seen mentioned in the acknowledgements section of various books. She wrote him asking for publishing suggestions and he said that he’d just started his own publishing company and would like to read her manuscript. The result was, Clark said, “The first person I sent a manuscript to, I got a publishing deal.”

Even though she had years left on her sentence and limited marketing ability from behind bars, Clark wrote another six novels and made the New York Times bestseller list before she was even released from prison. To read more about Clark, check out her interview with JET here or check out her Amazon writer’s page here.



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