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Becky Birtha
Born (1948-10-11) October 11, 1948 (ageĀ 73)
Occupation Author, poet

Becky Birtha (born October 11, 1948) is an American poet and children's author who lives in the greater Philadelphia area. In recent years she has written three children's historical fiction picture books about the African-American experience.

Early life

Rebecca Lucille Birtha was born on October 11, 1948, in Hampton, Virginia, to Jessie Dixon Moore Birtha and Herbert Marshall Birtha. She is the younger sister of Rachel Roxanne Birtha Eitches, a former international radio broadcaster for the Voice of America. She self-identifies as an African American with Cherokee, Catawba, African, and Irish heritage, all of which inform her writing.

Birtha grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after the family moved to the Germantown section of the city in 1952. In 1963 the family relocated to the West Mount Airy neighborhood and Birtha attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls. She attended the State University of New York at Buffalo for a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Studies in 1973 and later obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 1984. In addition to her writing, she has worked as a teacher, a legal librarian, and as a representative for an adoption agency.

Personal life

Birtha lives with her partner Nancy and daughter Tasha in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.


In 1985, Becky Birtha received an Individual Fellowship in Literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She later received a Creative Writing Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988.

She won a Pushcart Prize in 1989 for her story "Johnnieruth".

In 1992, she won one of the 4th Lambda Literary Awards for her anthology of lesbian poetry, The Forbidden Poems (1991).

She was awarded one of the Pew Fellowships in the Arts grants for $50,000 for the year 1993.

Her children's book Grandmama's Pride (2005) won the 2005 Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Honor Book for Picture Book Text.

Her children's book Lucky Beans (2010) won the 2010 Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award.

Children's books

  • Grandmama's Pride, Albert Whitman & Co. (2005).
  • Lucky Beans, Albert Whitman & Co. (2010).
  • Far Apart, Close in Heart, Albert Whitman & Co. (2017).
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