Miss Lulu Bett: "I don't know a better preparation for life than a love of poetry and a good digestion."
Zona Gale was born in Portage, Wisconsin on August 26, 1874. Educated at Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she received a Bachelor of Literature degree in 1895, and four years later a master's degree. After graduating she wrote for newspapers both in Milwaukee and New York for a number of years. A visit back home in 1903 proved pivotal in her writing advancement as her 'old world was full of new possibilities.' Zona had now settled on the material she needed for her writing, and returned to Portage in 1904 to concentrate full time on fiction. She published Romance Island, in 1906, and began the popular series of "Friendship Village" stories. In 1920, she published the novel Miss Lulu Bett, a brilliant realisation of life in the Midwestern United States. She adapted it as a play, and it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1921. Zona was also an active supporter of progressive causes and a member of the National Women's Party, and she lobbied extensively for the 1921 Wisconsin Equal Rights Law. Her activism on behalf of women was her way to help solve "a problem she returned to repeatedly in her novels: women's frustration at their lack of opportunities." In 1928 at the age of fifty-four she married William L. Breese, also of Portage. Zona died of pneumonia in a Chicago hospital on December 27th 1938.
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