Discovering Ursula Parrott

An Evening with Marsha Gordon and Tift Merritt

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Join filmmaker, author, and NC State film studies professor Marsha Gordon at The Cary Theater on April 26 for the launch of her new book, Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life & Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott. The event will feature a special screening of the 1930 classic pre-code film, The Divorcee, followed by an intimate one-on-one conversation with Marsha Gordon and musician Tift Merritt.

Part biography, part cultural history, Becoming the Ex-Wife establishes Parrott’s rightful place in twentieth-century American culture, uncovering her neglected work and keen insights into American women’s lives during a period of immense social change. Although she was frequently dismissed as a “woman’s writer,” reading Parrott’s writing today makes it clear that she was a trenchant philosopher of modernity—her work was prescient, anticipating issues not widely raised until decades after her decline into obscurity. Parrott’s first book, Ex-Wife, became a best seller and was adapted by MGM as The Divorcee, starring Norma Shearer in a role that earned her an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

According to Pulitzer Prize–winning author Debby Applegate, “Ursula Parrott deserves to be celebrated alongside greats like Dawn Powell and Dorothy Parker. [Marsha Gordon’s biography is] a pleasure to read.”

Marsha’s book, Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life & Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott, will be available for purchase in the lobby of The Cary before and after the program courtesy of So & So Books.


For assistance with accessible seating at The Cary Theater please contact the general box office at 919-462-2055, and/or reach out to the House Manager beginning one hour prior to the screening or performance.