Write what you know: advice as pertinent to a struggling child in a classroom as to an aging novelist completing their last great work. For a woman like Maya Angelou, it seems incredible that seven autobiographies managed to contain such a life, such a vast collection of selves and places and people. For better or worse, she knew an awful lot. She knew that often the most powerful stories are our own stories, and that hers was one to be shouted. She knew that words could dance off pages and lodge deep in those who care to listen, and she has died aged 86 leaving many brave and startling truths in her wake.