The Women of Brewster Place (novel)

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First edition (publ. Viking)

The Women of Brewster Place (1982) is the debut novel of American author Gloria Naylor. It won the National Book Award in category First Novel.[1] It was adapted as the 1989 miniseries The Women of Brewster Place and the 1990 television show Brewster Place by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions.

The Women explores the lives of both men and women in an urban setting and examines relationships, both in terms of friendship and romantic love, including homosexual relationships.

In each of the "Seven Stories" of its subtitle, one or more of the seven women are involved with the main character of that particular story, such as Mattie appearing in Etta Mae's story or Kiswana showing up in Cora Lee's.

Plot summary[edit]

The women of Brewster Place are "hard-edged, soft-centered, brutally demanding, and easily pleased". Their names are Mattie Michael, Etta Mae Johnson, Lucielia "Ciel" Turner, Melanie "Kiswana" Browne, Cora Lee, Lorraine, and Theresa. Each of their lives are explored in several short stories. These short stories also chronicle the ups and downs many women of color face.

Musical adaptation[edit]

A new musical adaptation of The Women of Brewster Place was commissioned for the stage. The musical premiered at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA on September 12, 2007, the same theatre that also co-produced the show itself. It was directed by Molly Smith. The Women of Brewster Place toured several cities, opening to several positive reviews.


  1. ^ "National Book Awards – 1983". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-28. (With acceptance speech by Naylor and essays by Rachel Helgeson and Felicia Pride from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)
    • First novels or first works of fiction were recognized from 1980 to 1985.

External links[edit]