“Writing is.... being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment.” – Mary Gaitskill
The author of short stories, novels and numerous essays, Gaitskill’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Her most recent novel This Is Pleasure was published in 2019. Also a college writing professor, she is a frequent speaker at writing workshops and conferences.
Born in Kentucky in 1954, Gaitskill said she chose to become a writer at age 18 because she was "indignant about things—it was the typical teenage sense of 'things are wrong in the world and I must say something.’” Her fiction typically is about female characters dealing with their own inner conflicts. Often her characters are controversial, but her writing style has won her many awards.
She said she’s always strived to write like the life that she’s lived and “My ambition was to live like music.”