Paule Marshall is an American author. She was born Valenza Pauline Burke in Brooklyn to Barbadian parents and educated at Girls High School, Brooklyn College and Hunter College. Early in her career, she wrote poetry, but later returned to prose. She was chosen by Langston Hughes to accompany him on a world tour in which they both read their work, which was a boon to her career.
Marshall has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of California, Berkeley, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Yale University before holding the Helen Gould Sheppard Chair of Literature and Culture at New York University. In 1993 she received an honorary L.H.D. from Bates College. She lives in Richmond, Va.
She is a MacArthur Fellow and is a past winner of the Dos Passos Prize for Literature. She was designated as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library in 1994.
Marshall was inducted into the Celebrity Path at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 2001.
My very first lessons in the art of telling stories took place in the kitchen . . . my mother and three or four of her friends. . . told stories. . . with effortless art and technique. They were natural-born storytellers in the oral tradition.