Paule Marshall was born on April 9, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York. She received a B.A. in English literature from Brooklyn College in 1953. She worked briefly as a librarian before joining Our World magazine. Her first novel, Brown Girl, Brownstones, was published in 1959. Her other novels include The Chosen Place, the Timeless People; Daughters; and The Fisher King. She is also the author of two collections of short fiction: Soul Clap Hands and Sing, which received the National Institute of Arts Award, and Reena and Other Stories. She has received several awards including the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature and the Columbus Foundation American Book Award for Praisesong for the Widow in 1983.