ANN PETRY Biography - Writers


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Ann Lane Petry (1908 - 1997)                                                           
Ann Petry's first published short story was "On Saturday the Siren Sounds at           
Noon, which appeared in Crisis. In 1946 Petry's "Like a Winding Sheet" was named       
Best American short story of 1946.                                                     
In 1946 Petry was awarded the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship which allowed       
her to finish The Street, her first of three novels. Ann Petry has also authored       
serveral children's books including Tituba of Salem Village                             
Petry told an audience in a speech published in Horn Book Magazine that she felt       
affected by numerous books as a child, to the extent of acting out scenes from         
some of her favorite books, a childhood trait which she indicated transcends           
generations when books and stories inspire childrens' imaginations. She added           
that her historical books for juveniles have several messages for young readers,       
including the simple reminder that black men and women have formed an integral         
part of American history: "Over and over again I have said: These [characters]         
are people. Look at them, listen to them; watch Harriet Tubman in the nineteenth       
century, a heroic woman, a rescuer of other slaves. Look at Tituba in the               
seventeenth century, a slave involved in the witchcraft trials in Salem Village.       
Look at them and remember them. Remember for what a long, long time black people       
have been in this country, have been a part of America: a sturdy, indestructible,       
wonderful part of America, woven into its heart and into its soul." She                 
continued, "These women were slaves. I hoped that I had made them come alive,           
turned them into real people. I tried to make history speak across the centuries       
in the voices of people--young, old, good, evil, beautiful, ugly." --                   
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