Linda Gray Sexton was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1953. As the daughter of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Anne Sexton, she grew up in a home filled with books and words and an attention to language, and at an early age she, too, began to write. Afternoons were sometimes spent together with her mother, reading aloud from Anne’s favorite poems.
By the time Linda was an adolescent, she had begun to write poetry and short fiction seriously, and spent many special hours curled up on the sofa in Anne’s study, discussing her own fledgling work as well as her mother’s growing oeuvre. Gradually, Anne began to rely on her daughter’s opinions, and dubbed Linda, “my greatest critic.”
Linda graduated from Harvard in 1975 with a degree in literature, and then continued to live in the Boston area. After the death of her mother, Linda became the literary executor of the estate at twenty-one years old and edited several posthumous books of her mother’s poetry, as well as publishing "Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters."
Concentrating at last fully on fiction, she published her first novel, "Rituals," in 1981; "Mirror Images," "Points of Light" and "Private Acts" followed over a ten year period. Points of Light was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame Special for CBS television and was translated into thirteen languages.
Linda married in 1979, and converted to Judaism before her wedding. She and her husband moved to Manhattan in 1982, when he graduated from the Harvard Business School. In New York
she made a very brief foray into the world of writing soap opera, though throughout she stayed devoted to her love of fiction. But her most important work was raising her two sons, who were born in 1983 and 1984.
Linda left her lifelong home of the east coast in the spring of 1989, and moved her family to Northern California, just in time for the 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake. There, while working in a soup kitchen, becoming Bat Mitzvah, and running a Meals on Wheels program for her temple, she finished her first memoir, "Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother," Anne Sexton," which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was optioned by Miramax Films.
Having tea with film director Martin Scorsese in his home and discussing his interest in her book was a high point of Linda’s career as a writer. "Searching for Mercy Street" was reissued by Counterpoint Press in April 2011.
On the West Coast, with a big enough backyard at last, Linda added three Dalmatians to her family—the type of pet she had when she was a child. She developed a passion for showing them in both the breed and obedience rings, and she bred and then whelped four litters of puppies on her own and began to consider herself a "breeder."
She and her new husband, Brad Clink, are avid sailors on the San Francisco Bay and own a sloop named Mercy Street.
Sexton's second memoir, "Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide," is about her struggle with her own mental illness and the legacy of suicide left to her by her mother and her mother’s family. Through the help of family, therapy and medicine, Linda confronted deep-seated issues, outlived her mother and curbed the haunting cycle of suicide she once seemed destined to inherit.
She has finished a new memoir now, one that details her childhood family's life, as well as her own adulthood, as reflected through their relationship with Dalmatians over the years. BESPOTTED: MY FAMILY'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THIRTY-EIGHT DALMATIANS will be published On September 7, 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
She is now at work on a new novel and lives with her Dalmatians Breeze, Cody and Mac in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Mac is the cover model for the photo on the jacket cover of BESPOTTED.
Visit Linda on her website at lindagraysexton.com