Ann Petry

in Old Saybrook, CT, The United States
October 12, 1908

April 28, 1997


Ann Petry (October 12, 1908 – April 28, 1997) was an American author who became the first black woman writer with book sales topping a million copies for her novel The Street.

The wish to become a professional writer was raised in Ann for the first time in high school when her English teacher read her essay to the class commenting on it with the words: “I honestly believe that you could be a writer if you wanted to.” The decision to become a pharmacist was her family’s. She turned up in college and graduated with a Ph.G. degree from Connecticut College of Pharmacy in New Haven in 1931 and worked in the family business for several years. She also began to write short stories while she was working at the pharmacy.

On February 22, 1938, she marr

Average rating: 4.16 · 11,892 ratings · 1,530 reviews · 26 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Street

4.24 avg rating — 8,577 ratings — published 1946 — 49 editions
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Harriet Tubman: Conductor o...

4.06 avg rating — 1,126 ratings — published 1955 — 29 editions
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Tituba of Salem Village

3.65 avg rating — 517 ratings — published 1964 — 10 editions
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The Narrows

4.19 avg rating — 313 ratings — published 1953 — 15 editions
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3.15 avg rating — 249 ratings — published 2020 — 3 editions
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Miss Muriel and Other Stories

4.19 avg rating — 118 ratings — published 1971 — 10 editions
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Like a Winding Sheet

4.20 avg rating — 70 ratings — published 1971
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Marie of the Cabin Club

2.91 avg rating — 70 ratings
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Ann Petry: The Street, The ...

4.48 avg rating — 50 ratings2 editions
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Country Place

4.21 avg rating — 53 ratings — published 1947 — 11 editions
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More books by Ann Petry…

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“Her voice had a thin thread of sadness running through it that made the song important, that made it tell a story that wasn’t in the words – a story of despair, of loneliness, of frustration. It was a story that all of them knew by heart and had always known because they had learned it soon after they were born and would go on adding to it until the day they died.”
Ann Petry, The Street

“The snow fell softly on the street. It muffled sound. It sent people scurrying homeward, so that the street was soon deserted, empty, quiet. And it could have been any street in the city, for the snow laid a delicate film over the sidewalk, over the brick of the tired, old buildings; gently obscuring the grime and the garbage and the ugliness.”
Ann Petry, The Street

“She held the paper in her hand for a long time, trying to follow the reasoning by which that thin ragged boy had become in the eyes of a reporter a 'burly Negro.' And she decided that it all depended on where you sat how these things looked. If you looked at them from inside the framework of a fat weekly salary, and you thought of colored people as naturally criminal, then you didn't really see what any Negro looked like. You couldn't because the Negro was never an individual. He was a threat, or an animal, or a curse, or a blight, or a joke.”
Ann Petry, The Street


July 2017 New School Classic Poll

  46 votes, 13.2%

  35 votes, 10.0%

  33 votes, 9.5%

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, 1967, 192 pgs
  28 votes, 8.0%

  28 votes, 8.0%

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, 1945, 185 pgs
  26 votes, 7.4%

The Godfather by Mario Puzo, 448 pgs, 1969
  26 votes, 7.4%

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, 1930, 267 pgs
  23 votes, 6.6%

  22 votes, 6.3%

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, 1996, 636 pgs
  18 votes, 5.2%

  14 votes, 4.0%

  13 votes, 3.7%

  11 votes, 3.2%

The Sea Wolf by Jack London, 1904, 425 pgs
  10 votes, 2.9%

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, 1920, 454 pgs
  9 votes, 2.6%

  4 votes, 1.1%

Creation by Gore Vidal, 1981, 574 pgs
  3 votes, 0.9%

The Street by Ann Petry, 1946, 435
  0 votes, 0.0%


Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: The Street 88 110 Jun 28, 2012 07:32PM  
The Seasonal Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Summer Challenge 2013: Completed Tasks (DO NOT DELETE POSTS) 2515 717 Aug 31, 2013 09:04PM  
Black Coffee: Favorite Reads 2013 8 20 Dec 06, 2013 07:35AM  
2021 Reading Chal...: 2013: Year in Review 41 115 Jan 06, 2014 10:02PM  
500 Great Books B...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Decades, Centuries, and Millenia 8 292 Dec 06, 2014 09:46PM  
Book Nook Cafe: Native Son- January 2015 87 60 Feb 14, 2015 06:37PM  
Reading with Style: This topic has been closed to new comments. * Task Overview 2 119 May 14, 2015 09:38AM  
Reading with Style: 10.10 - Group reads 1 25 May 31, 2015 09:01PM  
Reading with Style: This topic has been closed to new comments. RwS Completed Tasks - Spring 2015 1071 106 May 31, 2015 09:05PM