Vivian Gornick: A Map of American Feminism

In an age of instant opinions and the daily social media rush from one outrage to another, it’s refreshing to read the words of an 85 year old writer who insists on taking her time. In fact, Taking a Long Look, Vivian Gornick’s latest essay collection, is a masterclass in standing back, thinking deeply, then setting down one’s thoughts in a calm and reflective manner. Not that this approach makes Gornick’s work any the less engaging: for more than thirty years she has written about literature and culture from a feminist perspective, producing a body of work that has earned her the reputation as one of America’s foremost critics. As much as her work is a love-letter to the act of reading, collected, her writings form a map of American feminism: a vital reminder of how much has changed, yet how so many challenges remain the same. In this event, filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival, Gornick shares her ideas with Lennie Goodings, author of A Bite of the Apple: A Life with Books, Writers and Virago.

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