Radio Wolinsky

Mavis Gallant (1922-2014)

Mavis Gallant in the 1950s
Mavis Gallant in the 1950s

Mavis Gallant, who died in 2014 at the age of 91, was a Canadian short story writer who spent most of her life in France. During her lifetime, she had 118 stories in the New Yorker, which made her one of that magazine’s most published writers. Along the way she did write two novels, but it was because of her shorter fiction that she was very much a writers’ writer.

A very private person, she only rarely gave interviews – but she did go on a book tour for her short story collection, Across the Bridge, and it’s then, on October 6, 1993, that Richard A. Lupoff and Richard Wolinsky had a chance to speak with her.

Wikipedia notes that her subject was frequently fascism, in particular about what she called “the small possibilities in people” which leaned them toward fascism. In a roundabout way, she discusses that in this interview.

New York Review Books Classics has published several volumes of her stories, most notably The Collected Stories, which features fifty two examples of her best work, and Paris Stories, curated by Michael Ondaatje. Across the Bridge is available in an e-book edition from Amazon.

Interview digitized, remastered and edited in August 2020 by Richard Wolinsky.

Transcript of a 1999 Paris Review interview with Mavis Gallant