Day 3: Ann Petry
Ann Lane Petry’s birth date is not certain. Some biographers state October 12, 1911, while others list it as October 12, 1908. Either way, she was born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, a predominantly white, rural community. Her family often told stories while she was growing up, and Petry began writing short stories and plays while she was still in high school.
The Street is her most famous novel, published in 1946; it made her the first black woman writer with book sales over a million copies.
As Petry is considered one of the most successful members of the “Richard Wright school” of writing, some overlook the Gothic–the dark and macabre–tones in her writing. In Keith Clark‘s book, The Radical Fiction of Ann Petry (Louisiana State University Press, 2013), Clark compares Petry’s work to Poe’s, saying she has brought the symbolism of classic Gothic into the 1940s. The tenement building becomes a…
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