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Virginia Barber

Virginia Barber became a literary agent in 1971 and opened her own agency in 1974. Among the authors she represented have been Rosellen Brown, Andrew Delbanco, James Dodson, Sue Monk Kidd, Peter Mayle, Alice Munro, David Nasaw, Anita Shreve, and Anne Rivers Siddons. She has served on the Board and as President of Women’s Media Group and on the Boards of Literacy Partners, Duke University Libraries, and Poets and Writers.


An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

I opened my own literary agency in 1974, and Alice became my client in 1976—after her third book, Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You. At that time, her writing was relatively new to the US market, and I was still developing my network in the publishing world. Anybody would have been happy to represent a writer like Alice Munro. I was doubly excited by her work because she was a woman writer of such power and, I was sure, true distinction. Lives of Girls and Women, which Alice published in 1971, impressed me for many reasons. It was a coming-of-age story about a young girl, and while I was accustomed to reading an initiation-to-life story with a young boy as the central character, this was as powerful as anything I had read. I admired the way her work was conscious of social structures that girls and women were expected to abide by.