In this video, Marsha Gordon offers a sneak peek into her riveting new biography of Ursula Parrott—best-selling author, Hollywood screenwriter, and voice for the modern woman.

Credited with popularizing the label “ex-wife” in 1929, Ursula Parrott wrote provocatively about divorcées, career women, single mothers, work-life balance, and a host of new challenges facing modern women. Her best sellers, Hollywood film deals, marriages and divorces, and run-ins with the law made her a household name. 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. With elegant wit and a deft command of the archive, Marsha Gordon tells a timely story about the life of a woman on the front lines of a culture war that is still raging today.

Praise for Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life and Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott

“An in-depth look at Parrott’s complicated and sometimes scandalous life.”—Walter Magazine

“Ursula Parrott deserves to be celebrated alongside greats like Dawn Powell and Dorothy Parker. A pleasure to read.”—Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age

“Parrott finally gets her due in this revelatory book. Thanks to Gordon’s masterful biography, her moment has finally arrived.”—Cara Robertson, author of The Trial of Lizzie Borden