Nella Larsen is born in Chicago, Ill. She will write two important novels of the Harlem Renaissance, Quicksand and Passing.
She worked at NYC Library's Harlem Branch from 1921-1926. It is here that Nella began her literary career by publishing several short pieces, and consequently
began her climb up the ladder of social mobility known as the "black bourgeoisie", later to become the arts and letters movement of African Americans in Harlem: The Harlem Renaissance. Nella began her literary career in 1919 by publishing a short piece "Three Scandinavian Games" in Jessie Fauset's children's magazine, Brownies Book. While
working at the library, Nella published two short stories, "The Wrong Man" and "Freedom" in Young's Magazine. Nella regarded her privacy by writing these short pieces of fiction under the pseudonym Allen Simi, her married name backwards. But her stories received recognition, nonetheless.
Her first novel, Quicksand received the Bronze Award for Literature from the Harmon Foundation.
Her work has autobiographical underpinnings of her own experiences being exposed to and alienated from both Black and White culture.