“Petry is the writer we have been waiting for; hers are the stories we need to fully illuminate the questions of our moment, while also offering a page-turning good time. Ann Petry, the woman, had it all, and so does her insightful, prescient and unputdownable prose.” — Tayari Jones, New York Times Book Review

From the author of the bestselling novel The Street, comes a powerful collection of stories that captures a remarkably diverse panorama of African American experience in the 1950s and 1960s.

A small-town pharmacist’s decision to take a day off leads his wife to an agonizing encounter with the police. A retired Black college professor teaching at a predominately white high school is kidnapped and forced to witness an unthinkable horror. A young Black girl watches her aunt’s suitors threaten her family’s wellbeing, with repercussions that reverberate for decades. Ann Petry wrote these and the other extraordinary stories in this collection over half a century ago, but the problems they interrogate still exist today, incisively uncovering the consequences of America’s pervasive racism, while telling timeless stories of everyday lives, of aspiration, frustration, and love. Miss Muriel and Other Stories is “a delicate, unflinching probe into African-American existence” (Boston Globe) from one of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century. Originally published between 1945 and 1971, Petry’s stories are “a delicate, unflinching probe into African-American existence” (Boston Globe) and an assertion of her status as one of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century. 

“I’ve recently had my brain re-wired by Ann Petry, and it’s that exhilarating feeling of falling in love with one of your lifetime writers for the first time.” —Brandon Tyler

About the author(s)

Ann Petry was the acclaimed author of the adult novel The Street, a groundbreaking literary work about life in Harlem, which sold over a million copies. She also wrote several books for young readers, including Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad, the story of the courageous and heroic woman who struggled and fought for her people before and during the Civil War.


"Miss Muriel and Other Stories adds more tenor to questions that surely have haunted fans of [Petry's] novels . . . Black women’s voices matter, yet they are often silenced, ignored, or relegated to the margins of popular discourse . . . Some eight decades after Ann Petry penned the first words that would make their way into Miss Muriel, let us give her the audience she deserves."  — Jamilah Lemieux

"But Petry's stories, like her novels, refuse to settle for easy truths. In Miss Muriel, individuals, their relationships with others, and their communities are clearly formed by human bias, not just harmed by it." — Hilary Holladay, author of Tipton 

"Miss Muriel and Other Stories is timeless. Petry's sense of place, subtly drawn characters, and exploration of complex ethical questions, especially when race and gender collide, make these classic examples of the American short story." — Barbara Smith, author of The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom