“Nella Larsen: (1891-1964) American novelist and short-story writer. Larsen’s reputation as one of the luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance rests upon her two published novels, Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929). Both are studies of middle-class mulatto women and the politics of the color line. Here work is noted for its economy of expression and psychological depth. Although Larsen was the first African-American woman to win a Guggenheim fellowship (1930), her literary career declined shortly afterward due to professional and personal difficulties. Larsen died in obscurity after working as a nurse for more than twenty years in New York City.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.