Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Smith) - Author Bio

Author Bio 
Birth—December 15, 1896
Where—Brooklyn, New York, USA
Death—January 17, 1972
Where—Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Education—University of Michigan (non-degree student)
Awards—Rockefeller Fellowship and the Dramatist Guild

Betty Smith, the daughter of German immigrants, grew up poor in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. After stints writing features for newspapers, reading plays for the Federal Theater Project, and acting in summer stock, Smith moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina under the auspices of the W.P.A. While there in 1943, she published A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, her first novel. Smith's other novels include Tomorrow Will be Better (1947), Maggie-Now, (1958) and Joy in the Morning (1963). She also had a long career as a dramatist, writing one-act and full-length plays for which she received both the Rockefeller Fellowship and the Dramatist Guild Fellowship. She died in 1972. (From the publisher.)

Betty Smith was an American author, born in Brooklyn, New York to German immigrants. She grew up poor in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. These experiences served as the framework to her first novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which was published in 1943.

Having married early George H. E. Smith, a fellow Brooklynite, she moved with him to Ann Arbor, Michigan, while he pursued his law degree at the University of Michigan. At this time, she gave birth to two girls and waited until they were in school so she could complete her higher education. Although Smith had not finished high school, the university allowed her to enroll in classes anyway. There she honed her skills in journalism, literature, writing, and drama, winning a prestigious Hopwood Award. She was a student in the classes of Professor Kenneth Thorpe Rowe.

In 1938 she divorced her George Smith and moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she married Joseph Jones in 1943. It was at this time that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was published. She teamed with George Abbott to write the book for the 1951 musical adaptation of the same name. Throughout her life, Smith worked as a dramatist, receiving many awards and fellowships including the Rockefeller Fellowship, the Dramatists Guild Fellowship, and the Hopwood Award for her work in drama. (From Wikipedia.)

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