Her Story: A Century of Women Writers

July 10, 2020 - January 10, 2021
black and white photo of a woman
Lorraine Hansberry by David Attie, c. 1960. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © David Attie


Everyone loves a good story. “Her Story: A Century of Women Writers” will highlight 24 noted women writers from the last one hundred years who are represented in the Portrait Gallery’s collection. The authors featured have collectively won every literary award there is, and many of their titles have become classics of American literature. Pulitzer Prize winners alone include Jhumpa Lahiri, Joyce Carol Oates, Marilynne Robinson, Anne Tyler, Alice Walker and Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American writer to win a Pulitzer and the first black woman elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Another winner, Toni Morrison, also received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This exhibition is part of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, “Because of Her Story,” and is curated by Portrait Gallery Historian James Barber.