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From Philly Streets to Living Literary Legend: The Unstoppable Journey of Lorene Cary

Updated: Feb 9

Lorene Cary in a Classroom sitting in a chair

Imagine a young girl from Philly, where dreams stretch wide and the night sky's alive with possibilities. This girl, Lorene Cary, with a mind sharp as cut glass and a spirit that could light fires, walks into St. Paul's School, New Hampshire, in 1972. She wasn't just another face in the crowd; she was one of the very first African-American girls to step into a world that had only just begun to open its doors to women. Can you grasp that bravery, that spark of defiance and hope in her eyes as she took on this new universe?

Lorene Cary signs copies of Ladysitting ar Harrietts Bookshop
Lorene Cary at Harrietts Bookshop
Lorene Cary at Harrietts Bookshop Grand Opening week

Fast forward through the years, and Lorene aflame with desire. With dreams tucked under one arm and a wealth of knowledge under the other, she heads back to her Philly roots, snagging her undergraduate and MA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania by '78. But again, her story was far from over. The call of the wider world beckoned, and the prestigious Thouron Fellowship swept her off to Sussex University in the UK, plunging her into the heart of Victorian literature.

Yet, Lorene Cary's tale isn't confined to the academic world. She was busy penning her own legacy, one word after another, lighting up pages in Time, TV Guide, Newsweek, and Essence. She crafted stories that hit hearts in their home, voices that resonated from the Philadelphia Inquirer back to the corridors of St. Paul's—this time, not as a student, but as a mentor, a teacher, brighten the way for others.

Lorene Cary with Brick wall background

Now, envision her shaping future storytellers as a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. Lorene Cary's path from the streets of Philly to the pinnacles of literature is nothing short of a masterclass in determination, intellect, and unwavering faith in the stories we hold within and dare to share.

So here's to Lorene Cary, the literary giant among us, whose words wield more power than swords, and whose journey serves as a reminder to us all. Let's celebrate her today, because she's more than a writer; she's a pathfinder, an educator,and a pioneer. And her story? Well, it's far from over.

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