A Story Larger than My Own: Women Writers Look Back on Their Lives and Careers (Paperback)

A Story Larger than My Own: Women Writers Look Back on Their Lives and Careers By Janet Burroway (Editor) Cover Image
By Janet Burroway (Editor)
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In 1955, Maxine Kumin submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post. “Lines on a Half-Painted Housemade it into the magazine—but not before Kumin was asked to produce, via her husband’s employer, verification that the poem was her original work.

Kumin, who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, was part of a groundbreaking generation of women writers who came of age during the midcentury feminist movement. By challenging the status quo and ultimately finding success for themselves, they paved the way for future generations of writers. In A Story Larger than My Own, Janet Burroway brings together Kumin, Julia Alvarez, Jane Smiley, Erica Jong, and fifteen other accomplished women of this generation to reflect on their writing lives.

The essays and poems featured in this collection illustrate that even writers who achieve critical and commercial success experience a familiar pattern of highs and lows over the course of their careers. Along with success comes the pressure to sustain it, as well as a constant search for subject matter, all too frequent crises of confidence, the challenges of a changing publishing scene, and the difficulty of combining writing with the ordinary stuff of life—family, marriage, jobs. The contributors, all now over the age of sixty, also confront the effects of aging, with its paradoxical duality of new limitations and newfound freedom.

Taken together, these stories offer advice from experience to writers at all stages of their careers and serve as a collective memoir of a truly remarkable generation of women.

About the Author

Janet Burroway is the author of eight novels, including The Buzzards and Raw Silk; two best-selling textbooks, Writing Fiction and Imaginative Writing; and the forthcoming memoir Losing Tim. She is also the author of numerous plays, short stories, poetry collections, and children’s books. She is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita at Florida State University and divides her time between Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and Chicago.

Praise For…

"The variety of voices and styles adds up to a mesmerizing tapestry of a generation, made up of both individual experiences and the commonalities between them. Readers of all walks of life will find much to savor here."
— Starred Review

“In A Story Larger than My Own, Janet Burroway has cannily compiled a glittering collage of narratives that dramatizes the achievements, perspectives, and problems of older women writers. From Margaret Atwood to Alicia Ostriker, Toi Derricote to Hilma Wolitaer, a range of accomplished artists review careers from which all readers have much to learn.”
— Sandra Gilbert, coauthor of The Madwoman in the Attic

"A Story Larger than My Own is an essential book for women writers, for all writers, for readers, for people with mothers, for people who remember their mothers."
— Cris Mazza, author of Something Wrong with Her

"Janet Burroway was my first writing teacher and when I read her work, I always hear her voice, warm and wise, giving me the courage to write. But in a very real sense, everyone in this collection is my teacher, my mentor, and to read what they have to say about writing and their writing lives, speaks directly to me. This is more than a must-read book, this is a book of psalms, of truths—a book every writer, or reader, should own."
— Jesse Lee Kercheval, author of My Life as a Silent Movie and Space: A Memoir

"These writers arrived at a time when women's roles at home and work were changing. Their history gives the collection context while texture comes from the diversity of the experiences of each coming into her own voice."
— Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226014104
ISBN-10: 022601410X
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: February 27th, 2014
Pages: 192
Language: English