Friday, February 20, 2015

Author Elisabeth Petry "Overcoming the Odds"

The Middlesex County Historical Society presents author Elisabeth Petry who will speak on the topic, “Overcoming the Odds: Anna Louise James and Ann Petry Gamble and Win” on Tuesday, February 24 at 7:00 pm.  The program, co-sponsored by Russell Library, will be held in the Hubbard Room of the library located at 123 Broad Street, Middletown.  The illustrated talk will expand on essays included in the recently published book, "African American Connecticut Explored" (The Driftless Connecticut Series & Garnet Books/Wesleyan University Press), and will illuminate the lives and work of these two remarkable women.

Petry, the great-niece of Anna Louise James and daughter of Ann Petry, will reveal the reasons Miss James became the first African American woman to obtain a pharmacy license and operate a pharmacy for more than forty years in Old Saybrook.  She will also discuss the writings of her mother, a best selling novelist, and will include readings from her essay, “Just Like Georgia, Except for the Climate: Black Life at Mid-Century in Ann Petry’s The Narrows,” which appeared in "African American Connecticut Explored".

A native of Old Saybrook, Elisabeth Petry is a writer and former journalist and lawyer.  Her first book, a collection of letters that she edited, is titled "Can Anything Beat White?: A Black Family’s Letters".  Her second is "At Home Inside:  A Daughter’s Tribute to Ann Petry", published in 2008.  Liz has also taught English and is conducting a weekly writer’s workshop for military veterans.  She lives with her husband, Lawrence Riley, in Middletown.

Copies of "African American Connecticut Explored" as well as copies of Petry’s books will be available for purchase and inscription.  Russell Library is handicap accessible.  For further information, contact the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.

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