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Paule Marshall Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Chosen Place, The Timeless People (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Praisesong for the Widow (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Daughters (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fisher King (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Triangular Road (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Soul Clap Hands and Sing (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reena and Other Stories (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Merlela And Other Stories (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Black Woman(1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Paule Marshall

Paule Marshall was an accomplished American author whose works were widely acclaimed by readers and critics alike. She was born Valenza Pauline Burke in Brooklyn, New York on April 9, 1929. Marshall was greatly influenced by the Barbadian background of her parents, and she even spent a year there in 1938-39. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1953 and worked as a librarian and food and fashion editor for Our World, an African American magazine from 1953-1956.

Marshall’s debut novel was ‘Brown Girl, Brownstones’ (published 1959), which received critical praise for its dialogue. Her other works include ‘The Chosen Place, the Timeless People’ (in 1969) ‘Soul Clap Hands and Sing’ (1961), ‘Reena and Other Stories’ (1983), and ‘Praisesong for the Widow’ (1983). In her works, Marshall strove to show the importance of re-discovering African American heritage.

Marshall was also a teacher, and she held the Helen Gould Sheppard Chair for Literature and Culture, being based at New York University. Awarded a MacArthur Fellowship grant in 1992, she received other honors included the Dos Passos Prize for Literature, an honorary L.H.D. received from Bates College, and the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award.

Early and Personal Life

Born Valenza Pauline Burke in Brooklyn, New York to Sam Burke and Adriana Viola Clement Burke on April 9 in 1929. Marshall’s father had migrated to New York in 1919 and left his family to join a cult, leaving his wife to raise their children alone. Marshall was inspired by her mother’s use of language and changed her name to Paule from Pauline at the age of either 12 or 13.

Attending Bushwick High School, she then enrolled in Hunter College. She got ill during college and decided to major in English Literature, eventually receiving her Bachelor of Arts in 1953 from Brooklyn College and her master’s in 1955 from Hunter College. After graduating, she wrote for ‘Our World,’ the magazine distributed nationally for African-American readers, which taught her writing discipline, eventually helping her write her first novel, ‘Brown Girl, Brownstones.’

In 1950, she married Kenneth Marshall, a psychologist, before divorcing him in 1963. Later, in the 1970s, she went on to marry a Hatian businessman named Nourry Menard. Marshall taught at various universities, including Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of California, Berkeley, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Yale University. Marshall passed away on August 12, 2019, in Richmond, Virginia.

Writing Career

Paule Marshall made her debut in the literary world with her novel Brown Girl, Brownstones in 1959. This work earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1961 and a National Institute of Arts Award for her collection of four novellas, Soul Clap Hands and Sing. In 1965, Marshall was selected by acclaimed author Langston Hughes to join him on a State Department-sponsored world tour. The Chosen Place, the Timeless People was published in 1969, followed by Reena and Other Stories in 1983 and Praisesong for the Widow in the same year. This work was recently reissued by McSweeney’s in 2021.

Marshall was a well-decorated author. She won a MacArthur Fellowship and the Dos Passos Prize for Literature. The New York Public Library named her a Literary Lion in 1994. Marshall was also inducted into the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Celebrity Path in 2001, and in 2010, she won a Lifetime Achievement Award, which she received from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.

Marshall also published her memoir, Triangular Road, in 2009. A biography of her life is also in the works, with Mary Helen Washington set to publish it through Yale University Press.

Brown Girl, Brownstones

Paule Marshall’s debut stand-alone novel ‘Brown Girl, Brownstones’ was first published in 1959 by Random House. The novel was later reprinted in 1981 by the Feminist Press, receiving further acclaim. In 1960, it was also adapted by ‘CBS Television Workshop’ for TV.

Selina Boyce is a young woman of Barbadian immigrant parents living in Brooklyn during the Great Depression and through World War II. Her parents have opposing views of success, with her mother aiming to purchase a brownstone row house and her father wishing for an easier path. In Brown Girl, Brownstones, Selina explores the challenge of reconciling tradition with potential and change, grappling with issues of identity, sexuality and shifting values in a new country. Written by Paule Marshall, and featuring a new foreword from Edwidge Danticat, this coming-of-age story is a heart-warming exploration of the immigrant experience.

Selina Boyce’s coming-of-age story, Brown Girl, Brownstones, offers an insightful look into the immigrant experience in Brooklyn during the turbulent times of the Great Depression and World War II. Written by Paule Marshall and featuring a new foreword by Edwidge Danticat, this book captures a young woman’s struggle to reconcile the opposing views of success held by her Barbadian immigrant parents. Selina faces the challenge of traditional values and potential change, exploring issues of identity, sexuality and shifting values in a new country. Readers are sure to appreciate this heart-warming story, which celebrates the immigrant experience with grace and understanding.

Praisesong for the Widow

Marshall’s social-realist stand-alone title ‘Praisesong for the Widow’ was first published on February 14, 1983 by Plume, Penguin Books. In 2021, it was reissued by McSweeney’s. The novel has since been widely praised and has become a classic in its genre.

Avey Johnson, a black widow in her middle years, was fond of wearing hats, gloves, and pearls. She had left her childhood home in Harlem far behind her. On a cruise with two friends, Avey was awoken by a dream that left her feeling anxious. She quickly packed her bags and left her companions at the next port. Her journey that followed was unexpected and beautiful, reconnecting her with the culture and history she had denied.

Full of surprises, Avey’s journey reconnected her to the culture and history she had denied. She experienced a range of emotions, but in the end was left with a sense of peace and fulfillment. Travelling back to her childhood home in Harlem, her experiences were filled with unexpected beauty. This book was an enjoyable read, full of passionate characters and a powerful story. It was a beautiful journey of self-rediscovery, and an inspiring account of a woman’s strength and courage.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Paule Marshall

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