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Jennifer Jensen Wallach

novelist, short-story writer, and children's book author. Ann Lane grew up in the white, middle-class town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The daughter of a pharmacist, she initially followed in her father's footsteps, earning a degree in pharmacy from the Connecticut College of Pharmacy in 1931 and then working in the family drugstore for seven years. In 1938 she married the writer George Petry and moved to Harlem to pursue a writing career.

In Harlem she worked as a reporter for the Amsterdam News and the People's Voice. She also began volunteering at an after-school program for latchkey children. This exposure to poverty and the difficulties faced by urban black women had a profound influence on her writing.

In the 1940s Petry published several short stories in periodicals including Phylon and The Crisis. A grant from Houghton Mifflin allowed her to write her first novel, The Street ...