Shanna Greene Benjamin

Grinnell College
English

Greene Benjamin will work on a chapter of and book proposal for In Control of Her Narrative: A Biography of Nellie Y. McKay. McKay was the co-editor of the groundbreaking Norton Anthology of African American Literature. After she passed away in 1996, it was discovered that not only had the pivotal figure in black women’s literary studies once been married, despite her proclamations to the contrary, but also that she had children: a son, Harry McKay, whose presence remained a secret, and a daughter, Patricia Watson, whom McKay had always introduced and referred to as her sister. Greene Benjamin will use McKay’s life as a case study for analyzing the relationship between fictionalized constructions of black women’s lives and the lived experiences of the black women scholars who study them.