A Wider Giving: Women Writing after a Long Silence

Edited by Sondra Zeidenstein

Is it possible to start a career as a creative writer at midlife or later? Our youth-oriented culture tells us in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways that beginnings are for the young, especially in the arts. But twelve women* featured in the first-of-its-kind collection A Wider Giving: Women Writing after a Long Silence refute that message. A Wider Giving is about a unique phenomenon: the emergence, in significant numbers, of women writers who are taking up writing careers after child-raising, after widowhood or divorce, after retirement from jobs and careers – later than our culture assumes one can take up creative writing and produce good works.

A Wider Giving reveals what is involved in starting a writing career late in life. In extended autobiographical narrates twelve new/old writers, ranging in age fro 55 to 82, speak with generous candor about what kept them from writing during their youth and young adulthood. They explain what led them to start or return to writing in their late forties, fifties, even seventies, how they struggled to overcome self-doubt, where they found training and support, how they found audiences. What they have to say is encouraging not only to writers, but to all women and men who are making a new start at an unlikely age.

A Wider Giving also presents the products of their efforts: compelling prose and poetry of high literary quality. Their subject matter and settings are wide-ranging, their voices are distinctive, but what their writing has in common are mature characters, depth of vision, deeply felt treatment of such subjects as aged parents, widowhood, long marriage, arthritis, pension checks. Love and passion, not only sexual – in fact, not often merely sexual – pervade their work. Representative of massively silenced generations of women, these writers and others like them are beginning to correct the lopsided vision of contemporary literature. A Wider Giving was edited by Sondra Zeidenstein, Ph.D., a late-developing poet, who wrote her first creative words at forty-eight.

It widens our understanding of what silences and what empowers. Tillie Olsen

A Wider Giving is a masterly achievement. May Sarton

*Adele Bowers, Naomi Feigelson Chase, Francine Julian Clark, Erma Fisk, Jeannette Guildford, Yvonne Hardenbrook, Sadie Wernick Hurwitz, Arlene Swift Jones, Patricia Powers, Catherine Stern, Sondra Zeidenstein, Geraldine Zetzel
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