Press Conference with Vivian Gornick, American Feminist Writer
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: What novel inspired Vivian Gornick to write Unfinished Business?
Vivian Gornick is a radical feminist American critic, journalist, essayist, and memoirist. She was born in 1935 in the Bronx and grew up in a family of left-wing working-class immigrants.
Gornick received her BA from City College of New York in 1957 and her MA in Literature from New York University in 1960. After teaching English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and at Hunter College, she worked as a reporter for the Village Voice from 1969 to 1977, while also writing for publications such as The Nation, the New York Times, and the Atlantic.
Gornick’s work powerfully evokes the urban Jewish American milieu of her childhood and reflects unflinchingly on the parallel humiliations of antisemitism and sexism. The experience of being “twice an outsider”—both Jewish and a woman—serves for Gornick as a powerful lesson in marginality.
In her latest book, Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader, which was published in 2020, Gornick revisits works by writers such as Colette, Marguerite Duras, and A. B. Yehoshua, which had been formative reading experiences for her. In her re-readings, Gornick adds a memoiristic layer to her essays. She recalls her young adulthood and time at The Village Voice, during which she first encountered these writers and reflects on how time has changed her relationship to their works.
Unfinished Business was recently published in Spain in both Spanish and Catalan, and this week we are bringing you the press conference that Gornick held virtually at its launching. (You will hear the simultaneous translation of comments by representatives of the publishing houses and questions from the Spanish press, and Gornick’s direct answers in English.)