Fiction writer, poet, and social activist Grace Paley was born in the Bronx on this date in 1922. Her short stories (in three collections, including Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, 1974), poetry and essays have been translated into 92 languages around the world. Paley’s own language is infused with Yiddish cadences, and her best characters lead with a witty feminist sensibility. Most often Paley wrote in the first person, creating storytelling women who cope with life’s and love’s challenges with wisdom and frankness. She herself was deeply involved in anti-war and anti-nuclear campaigns before, during and after the Vietnam War, and cofounded the Jewish Women’s Committee to End the [Israeli] Occupation in 1987. The year before, she was awarded a PEN/Faulkner Prize for fiction and also named the first State Author of New York. Paley died in 2007. A documentary film by Lilly Rivlin, Grace Paley: Collected Shorts, premiered at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in 2010.
“Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.” —Grace Paley