Grace Paley was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1922. She attended public schools in New York and studied at Hunter College and New York University. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Atlantic Monthly, among other publications, and her highly acclaimed collection of stories include The Little Disturbances of Man (1959), Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974), Later the Same Day (1985), and The Collected Stories (1994, nominated for a National Book Award). She is also the author of three books of poetry, Leaning Forward (1985), New and Collected Poems (1992), and Begin Again (2000); one collection of poems and prose pieces, Long Walks and Intimate Talks (1991); and a collection of essays Just As I Thought (1998).
Ms. Paley has written extensively of her life in and around New York City and of the long history of political activism in her family. A self-described “combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist,” she played an active part in the peace and feminist movements of the last forty years. She taught at Sarah Lawrence, as well as Columbia University, Dartmouth, and City College, and was a popular lecturer and workshop leader at colleges and universities. Included among her awards and honors are a 1997 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the 1993 Vermont Award for Excellence in the Arts, the 1993 REA Award for Short Stories, and the 1989 Edith Wharton Award. In 1989, she was also honored at a ceremony by Governor Mario Cuomo, who declared her the first official New York State Writer. Ms. Paley died in August of 2007 at the age of 84.