A Tribute to Louise DeSalvo
“Life, I have always believed,” Louise DeSalvo wrote in Vertigo, “is too short to have even one bad meal.” She also wrote: “The most productive writers and creative people I know realize that dreaming and daydreaming are important parts of how writers work” (The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity). Louise DeSalvo was an essayist, memoirist, teacher, mentor, novelist, gastronome, and Virginia Woolf scholar. Fierce in her dedication to her craft and to her writing community, DeSalvo inspired, egged on, and gave courage to countless beginning writers. She was fierce in her belief that personal stories had dignity, that “ethnic” writers needed to claim their place in the American canon, and that writing could not only be art but also a way of healing. Louise DeSalvo died on October 31, 2018, at the age of 76. The cause of death was metastatic breast cancer. She has left a legacy of books, essays, and students of writing, some of whom she never met but whom she emboldened to put words to the page. We are honored to remember her here.