Grace Paley, Master of Minimalist Writing

Grace Paley by Kirby Salvador
Illustration of Grace Paley by Kirby Salvador

Grace Paley (1922–2007)

A master of precise language, Grace Paley was an author and poet known for incorporating the daily lives of New York women into her short stories and novels. Born in the Bronx in 1922, she released three volumes of short stories and three books of poetry during her 70-year career. Though she produced a modest body of work, Paley became known for her mastery of dialect and minimalist writing style. She was also a political activist who was prominent in the feminist and peace movements throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s. In 1989, New York Governor Mario Cuomo named her the first official New York State Writer.

“Art is too long, and life is too short.” —Grace Paley

Born and raised in Chicago, Kirby Salvador is a New York-based illustrator specializing in fictional cities and the human figure. kirbysalvador.com

This feature originally appeared in the Minimalism issue.