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Mary Gordon says has no memory of not wanting to be a writer, even when she wanted to be a nun. She began her writing life primarily as a poet but switched to prose when she began an M.F.A. at Syracuse University. Her first novel, "Final Payments," was published in 1978 to great critical acclaim. This was followed quickly by "The Company of Women." Since then she has written the novels "Men and Angels," "The Other Side," "Spending" and "Pearl." Her new book is "The Love of My Youth" (Pantheon). Gordon is the McIntosh Professor of English at Barnard College.