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About the Author -- Susan Glaspell

Susan Glaspell was born in 1876 in Davenport, Iowa. She graduated from Drake University and worked as a journalist on the staff of the Des Moines Daily News. When her stories began appearing in magazines such as Harper's and The Ladies' Home Journal, she gave up the newspaper business. In 1915 Glaspell met George Cook, a talented stage director. Together they founded the Provincetown Players on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Players were a remarkable gathering of actors, directors and writers. The troupe included Eugene O'Neill and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Much of Glaspell's writing is strongly feminist, dealing with the roles that women play, or are forced to play, in society and the relationships between men and women. She wrote more than ten plays for the Provincetown Players, including Women's Honor (1918), Bernice (1919), Inheritors (1921), and The Verge (1922). In 1922 Glaspell married George Cook and moved to New York City, where she continued to write, mostly fiction. In 1931 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Alison's House, a play based loosely on the life and family of Emily Dickinson. Glaspell spent the latter part of her life on Cape Cod writing.

About "A Jury of Her Peers"

Susan Glaspell originally wrote "A Jury of Her Peers" as a play entitled Trifles. She wrote the play for the Provincetown Players in a very short period of time: ten days. It was produced in 1916. A year later she rewrote it as the short story "A Jury of Her Peers." The play and the story were inspired by a murder that Glaspell covered while working as a reporter for the Des Moines Daily News. Although "A Jury of Her Peers" concerns a murder investigation, the story is not a whodunit as much as it is a mystery of motive. As the women in the story discover the motive by paying close attention to "women's trifles," the theme of the story is revealed. When "A Jury of Her Peers" was first published, it was considered quite controversial and disturbing. It continues to disturb.

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