Betty Smith, December 15, 1896 - January 17, 1972 Betty Smith was born December 15, 1896, in Brooklyn, New York. She attended grammar school in Brooklyn, completing only the eighth grade. After leaving school at the age of fourteen, she worked in a factory, in retail and clerical jobs in New York City and eventually became a reader and editor for Dramatists Play Service, as well as an actress and playwright for the Federal Theater project and a radio actress. She attended the University of Michigan, from 1927 to 1930, as a special student. While attending the University of Michigan, some of her one-act plays were published, and she also worked as a feature writer for NEA (a newspaper syndicate) and wrote columns for the Detroit Free Press. She went on to Yale University Drama School, from 1930 to 1934. Smith became a member of the faculty of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 1945 till 1946. She was a member of the Authors League and the Dramatists Guild. Smith is perhaps best known for her work "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," which became an overnight success for the first time writer. She won the Avery and Jule Hopwood first prize of $1,000 in 1931; the Rockefeller fellowship in playwriting and Rockefeller Dramatists Guild playwriting fellowship while at Yale and the Sir Walter Raleigh award for fiction in 1958, for "Maggie--Now." Betty Smith died on January 17, 1972.
Author Anna Quindlen was born in Philadelphia on July 8, 1953. She graduated from Barnard in 1974. Quindlen worked as a reporter for the New York Post and the New York Times and wrote columns for the Times. She won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary before devoting herself to writing fiction. She has written both adult fiction (including Object Lessons, Black and Blue and One True Thing, which was made into a motion picture starring Meryl Streep) and children's fiction (Happily Ever After and The Tree That Came to Stay).