Eugenia Collier

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Eugenia W. Collier (born 1928)[1] is an African-American writer and critic best known for her 1969 short story "Marigolds", which won the Gwendolyn Brooks Prize for Fiction award. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Collier's collection, Breeder and Other Stories, was released in 1993.[2] She has also published a play, Ricky, based on her short story of the same name. Other texts that Collier has written or contributed to include Impressions in Asphalt: Images of Urban America (1999); A Bridge to Saying It Well (1970); Sweet Potato Pie (1972); Langston Hughes: Black Genius (1991); Afro-American Writing: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry (1992); and Modern Black Poets: A Collection of Critical Essays (1973). Her work has appeared in Negro Digest, Black World, TV Guide, Phylon, College Language Association Journal, and The New York Times.

Collier's "Marigolds" is one of the most widely read short stories in secondary-school English textbooks.[citation needed] Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the story describes the moment that the 14-year-old narrator, Lizabeth, comes of age. It is the moment she is first able to feel the pain of another human being, and Collier's narrative argues that innocence and compassion cannot exist in the same person.

The former English Chair at Morgan State University, Collier has also taught at Coppin State College (now University), the University of Maryland, Howard University, Southern Illinois University, and Atlanta University. She graduated magna cum laude from Howard University in 1948, and was awarded an M.A. from Columbia University two years later. In 1976, she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.[1]

Since retiring in 1996, Collier continues to live in Baltimore, and occasionally visits classes to discuss creative writing and her stories.


  1. ^ a b Yolanda Williams Page, ed. (2007). Encyclopedia of African American Women Writers. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 103. ISBN 9780313334290. 
  2. ^ "Eugenia Collier Breeder and other stories". Baltimore Afro-American. 10 September 1994. pp. B4. Retrieved 30 March 2010.