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As MFA programs and online venues for publication proliferate, so do the ranks of would-be writers, many of them pursuing writing later in life or as a secondary career. But even those who make a name for themselves early soon discover the difficulty of sustaining that success, of making transitions to new genres and publishing environments, of combining writing with the ordinary stuff of life—family, marriage, aging. This book offers reflections on the long course of a writing life from twenty women over the age of sixty who have achieved critical and often commercial success yet have struggled along the way with questions of literary productivity and subject matter, crises of confidence and reception, episodes of gender discrimination and familial interference, and eventually the effects of physical and cognitive decline. Though their individual stories and life lessons differ, most find solace in their role within the longer storytelling tradition and pleasure in the work of writing itself.
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