Radio 4 is dramatising six of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies in what would have been the late author’s 90th birthday year.

The plays will feature two actresses playing Angelou at different stages in her life.

The acclaimed US author, poet and civil rights activist died at the age of 86, in 2014.

The BBC Radio 4 dramatisations will start on June 18, with I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and run into 2019, “encapsulating the story of African-American struggle and liberation”.

Radio 4 said the adaptation would be the first radio dramatisation of the autobiographies.

Commissioning editor for drama and fiction Jeremy Howe said: “The books that make up the life and times of Maya Angelou are some of the best, most beautiful and haunting pieces of autobiography I have ever read.

“They run the gamut from life-affirming to tragedy and back again, with a tone that is a joyous, direct and searingly honest, and are an extraordinary portrait of 20th century black America.”

Indie Gjesdal will play the young Angelou, continuing with Pippa Bennett-Warner as the author as an adult.