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Gail Godwin (1937 - )

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"Actors between plays are like ghosts looking for bodies to inhabit."*

As a child living with her mother who wrote and her grandmother who cooked, Godwin considered the two female roles. At the age of 5, she recalls choosing the typewriter over the stove.**

She was born in Birmingham, Alabama. When she was 2, her parents divorced, and Godwin and her mother went to live with her maternal grandmother in Weaverville, North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina, receiving a B.A. degree in journalism in 1959. Godwin then worked at the Miami Herald as a reporter and later at the Saturday Evening Post as an editorial assistant. In 1967, she enrolled at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. While at Iowa, her first novel, The Perfectionists (1970), was published, and she received both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English. Following advanced studies at the University of Illinois, Godwin returned to Iowa as a lecturer at the Writers' Workshop from 1972 to 1973.

Among her novels are The Odd Woman (1974), Violet Clay (1978), A Mother and Two Daughters (1982), and Father Melancholy's Daughter (1991). Godwin's fictional themes often concern the individual's struggle to coexist with society, the consequences of desire, and the role of decision-making.

* The Finishing School (Viking, 1984)

** As cited in: Hill, Jane. Gail Godwin. New York: Twayne, 1992.

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