2016-09-01 / Spotlight


Mary Gage | Author + Playwright
Maggie Anderson

Playwright Mary Gage has lived in three places and led different lives in each. “In England I was brought up, I went to Cambridge, and then I was a journalist for The Times in London. But then I got married and we drove across the world to Australia, and in Australia there weren’t any good papers. So I started writing plays and books. Then my marriage broke up and I was flown here, and then I had to teach and become an administrator, and I liked that too.” Now, she’s starting a new chapter — writing a memoir. “It’s about what I discovered through my life,” she says. “I think everybody’s story is the same at some level, but hopefully if it’s interesting to me it will be interesting to other people. I’m trying to do new things and it’s hard.” Here are five things that help the writer succeed, no matter what she’s working on.

From the Earth
Gage likes to garden, and has a fair amount of her College Heights backyard planted with flowers and food. “I like gardening, and that spins off into cooking, and I love cooking too. Gardening is a pain because you’ve got to make it grow and then you’ve got to eat it. It all happens at once.”

People Person
Though Gage enjoys the solitary writing life, she couldn’t do without her loved ones. She has two children and three grandchildren, including one who lives with her and just started at Penn State. As for friends, she’s found many in State College. “There are lots of interesting people here from everywhere in the world. I like dinner parties; there’s nothing nicer than sitting around a table eating food and talking.”

What a Racket
Gage says she has been playing tennis since she was 8 years old. “I love to play tennis because it keeps me fit and I do all sorts of things that I wouldn’t do otherwise. When you’re chasing a ball, it’s amazing how you run and bend and stretch.”

Gage loves animals, though she recently pared her furry family down from chickens, a guinea pig, rabbits and a horse to her dog, Magic, and cat, Twinkie. “They’re family members,” she says.

Writer’s Life
Gage’s cousin found her 1780s oak desk in a chicken run in England, and the writer paid $12 for it. “It’s traveled with me to Western Australia and to Central Pennsylvania, so it’s gone right round the world. That symbolizes writing, and that’s what I do every day. I want to write something good or nothing. In the end, I think you have to say you do it because you love it.”

Return to top