Cyrus Colter


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A man in the house -- A chance meeting -- The rescue -- The lookout -- Girl friend -- Rapport -- Mary's convert -- Black for dinner -- Moot -- Overnight trip -- An untold story -- After the ball -- A gift -- The beach umbrella.


The Chicago settings for the stories in The Beach Umbrella range from ghetto existence to the élite monde of the Hyde Park-Kenwood black community. Writer David Ray says Colter's work “like that of Sherwood Anderson, or of Nelson Algren, will change the way people think about Chicago.” Colter chooses black men and women at various social levels to illustrate the dreams, foibles, and fears of every man. His studies of everyday crises and interpersonal relationships contain an insight about life itself, one that comes from years of what Lucien Stryk has called “compassionate observation.” Critic George P. Elliott has written that Colter's stories are the best about Negro life he has seen. The Beach Umbrella was selected by novelists Vance Bourjaily and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. to receive the first Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction.

Series Title

Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction

Award Date



Vance Nye Bourjaily and Kurt Vonnegut

Publication Date



University of Iowa Press


Iowa City

Total Pages


ISBN of Print Version



Copyright © 1970 by Cyrus Colter. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, without permission in writing from the publisher.