Interviews

All Interviews

Nicholson Baker

2011

"There are all kinds of books I’d like to write that seem to be out of my grasp."

Ann Beattie

2011

"Because I don’t work with an outline, writing a story is like crossing a stream, now I’m on this rock, now I’m on this rock, now I’m on this rock."

Ray Bradbury

2010

"You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don’t. They have prejudices."

Roberto Calasso

2012

“The author is the successor of the saint, everyone respects the author.”

Emmanuel Carrère

2013

“If I am able to write something that can evoke the emotion I felt during those two hours of listening to him, it is simply impossible that it won’t be a fantastic book.”

Dennis Cooper

2011

"I think pornography is a very rich medium, and I’ve studied it closely and learned quite a lot as a writer from it."

R. Crumb

2010

"It knocked you off your horse, taking LSD. I remember going to work that Monday, after taking LSD on Saturday, and it just seemed like a cardboard reality."

Samuel R. Delany

2011

"I was a kid who liked art and theater and dance and music, but if you lived in Harlem, high culture was somewhere else, and it wasn’t black."

Geoff Dyer

2013

“The process of book writing for me is entirely one of trial and error.”

Deborah Eisenberg

2013

“I’m a person with virtually no feelings.”

Bret Easton Ellis

2012

On American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman: “The more he acquires, the emptier he feels. On a certain level, I was that man, too.

Louise Erdrich

2010

"It’s because you’re always fighting sentiment. You’re fighting sentimentality all of the time because being a mother alerts you in such a primal way."

Jeffrey Eugenides

2011

“Every novelist should possess a hermaphroditic imagination.”

James Fenton

2012

“What happened to poetry in the twentieth century was that it began to be written for the page.”

Jonathan Franzen

2010

"When I was younger, the main struggle was to be a 'good writer.' Now I more or less take my writing abilities for granted, although this doesn’t mean I always write well."

William Gibson

2011

"I wanted to make room for antiheroes."

Alan Hollinghurst

2011

“I was rather a goody-goody as a child… It was only later on I discovered that you could be naughty and get away with it.”

Michael Holroyd

2013

“I think that when one is dead one should be a little bit bolder, so that the rest of us may have some record of how things actually were.”

Michel Houellebecq

2010

"I want to be loved despite my faults. It isn’t exactly true that I’m a provocateur. A real provocateur is someone who says things he doesn’t think, just to shock. I try to say what I think."

Susan Howe

2012

“I often think of the space of a page as a stage, with words, letters, syllable characters moving across.”

Edward P. Jones

2013

“Until I can read a story physically, with the eyes, it doesn’t seem to exist for me.” 

Imre Kertész

2013

“I tried to depict the human face of this history, I wanted to write a book that people would actually want to read.”

Tony Kushner

2012

“In some ways [the Internet]’s definitely an enemy.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

2013

“One of the things [fiction] does is lead you to recognize what you did not know before.”

Hermione Lee

2013

“Some cynical biographer said to me, Make sure it’s a good death. Make sure you’re not picking someone who just declined.”

Mark Leyner

2013

“The book attained a mind of its own, a subjectivity or an autocatalytic machinelike quality.”

Janet Malcolm

2011

“The 'I' character in journalism is almost pure invention.”

John McPhee

2010

"With nonfiction, you’ve got your material, and what you’re trying to do is tell it as a story in a way that doesn’t violate fact, but at the same time is structured and presented in a way that makes it interesting to read."

David Mitchell

2010

"Is there such a thing as overreading? Just because it wasn’t part of my grand design doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Things do happen in books that the writer is too submersed in bringing the narrative to life to notice."

Adam Phillips

2014

“I just want to see whether it’s possible to entertain Freud’s fantasy of a realistic biography. It may not be a possible thing to do.”

Norman Rush

2010

"I must love big novels, because that's what I've written. It takes a while before you begin to breathe the air the characters breathe."

Wallace Shawn

2012

“I love going to plays. There’s a subconscious side to it, obviously–some people like to be spanked for XYZ psychological reasons, and I like to go to plays, and I can’t entirely explain why.”

Terry Southern

2012

“I don’t know why, but I always feel a kind of necessity to write things that are beyond acceptance, that are too offensive or something. For people to read them and say, Ha-ha-ha, very funny. No, we can’t print that.”

Matthew Weiner

2014

“TV writing is for people who hate being alone more than they hate writing.”