Literary Birthday – 9 April – Paule Marshall

Paule Marshall was born 9 April 1929 and died 12 August 2019.


  1. A person can run for years but sooner or later he has to take a stand in the place which, for better or worse, he calls home, and do what he can to change things there.
  2. Sometimes a person has to go back, really back-to have a sense, an understanding of all that’s gone to make them-before they can go forward.
  3. We live surrounded by white images, and white in this world is synonymous with the good, light, beauty, success, so that, despite ourselves sometimes, we run after that whiteness and deny our darkness, which has been made into the symbol of all that is evil and inferior.
  4. My very first lessons in the art of telling stories took place in the kitchen . . . my mother and three or four of her friends. . . told stories. . .with effortless art and technique. They were natural-born storytellers in the oral tradition.
  5. Once a great wrong has been done, it never dies. People speak the words of peace, but their hearts do not forgive. Generations perform ceremonies of reconciliation but there is no end.
  6. I realise that it is fashionable now to dismiss the traditional novel as something of an anachronism, but to me it is still a vital form. Not only does it allow for the kind of full-blown, richly detailed writing that I love . . . but it permits me to operate on many levels and to explore both the inner state of my characters as well as the worlds beyond them.

Paule Marshall was an American writer. The novelist’s works emphasised a need for black Americans to reclaim their African heritage. She was best known for her 1959 debut novel Brown Girl, Brownstones. She was a MacArthur Fellow and a winner of the Dos Passos Prize for Literature. She was designated as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library in 1994. Her memoir, Triangular Road, was published in 2009.

Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 8th April 2020