Vivian Gornick has spent most of her working life writing memoirs and personal essays. At the same time, she has written critical work much influenced by her absorption in modern American feminism, the development in nonfiction writing of personal narrative, and the idea of the “persona” as a control in all serious nonfiction writing.
While at the Radcliffe Institute, Gornick will do major research for a biographical essay about Emma Goldman. She will also work on a memoir about an emblematic friendship that is framed within the context of contemporary urban life.
Gornick holds a bachelor of arts degree in literature from the City College of New York and a master of arts degree in literature from New York University. She is the author of eight books, one of them nominated for a National Book Award and another nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Gornick’s essays and articles have appeared in Bookforum, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, the New York Times Book Review, the New Yorker, Threepenny Review, and the Women's Review of Books. She has taught for many years in MFA programs all over the country, including those at the University of Houston, the University of Arizona, Sarah Lawrence College, and the New School in New York City.