Aside from her memoirs and poems, Maya Angelou, the American writer who died yesterday, aged 86, also wrote for Hallmark cards. 

“ The US poet laureate Billy Collins thought I had demeaned myself by writing poetry for Hallmark Cards, “ Maya told The Guardian in 2011. “But I am the people's poet so I write for the people.

“Not long ago, a woman thanked me in a shopping mall. She said she hadn't spoken to her daughter in five years and it had been one of my cards that had helped to reconcile them. If something I write brings people together, then it has served its purpose.”

She wrote two cook-books and, as result of healthy eating, had lost 23kg (3st 8lb) without any effort.

“ I hadn't been denying myself, just taking the time to use good ingredients and cooking proper meals. Without going out of my way to cut down on fats and sugar, I discovered that by making my food more savoury, I automatically found I was eating less: a smaller portion of something tasty left me feeling fuller for longer. So I decided, for my second cookbook, to put together a collection of savoury meals that were as good to eat at 8.30am as they were at 8.30pm. And yes, you can have fried rice for breakfast.”