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is the highly praised
Tell Me a Riddle, Silences,
and Yonnondio. She
is a Nebraska native (born in 1912 or 1913) who began writing in the 1930s.
necessity of raising and supporting four children through "everyday jobs"
silenced her for twenty years. Public libraries were her college. Among
the colleges where she has taught or been writer-in-residence are
Amherst College, Stanford University, MIT, and Kenyon College. She is
the recipient of five honorary degrees, National
Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the O Henry Award for best short story,
and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her
Afterword to Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron Mills
is a moving account of her commitment to labor issues and feminist values.
Regarded as one of the earliest spokesperson's for the women's movement, she has
said, "Be critical. Women have the right to say: This is surface, this falsifies
reality, this degrades." She was raised in the Russian Jewish and Socialist community
in Omaha and now lives in Berkeley.