STARRED REVIEW
October 2018

30 years of author interviews

For 30 years, BookPage has had the great pleasure of interviewing incredible authors about their work. To celebrate our third decade, we’re letting the authors speak for themselves. These are some of our favorite quotes from some of our favorite authors we’ve spoken to over the years. 
STARRED REVIEW
October 2018

30 years of author interviews

For 30 years, BookPage has had the great pleasure of interviewing incredible authors about their work. To celebrate our third decade, we’re letting the authors speak for themselves. These are some of our favorite quotes from some of our favorite authors we’ve spoken to over the years. 
October 2018

30 years of author interviews

For 30 years, BookPage has had the great pleasure of interviewing incredible authors about their work. To celebrate our third decade, we’re letting the authors speak for themselves. These are some of our favorite quotes from some of our favorite authors we’ve spoken to over the years. 
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30 years of author interviews

For 30 years, BookPage has had the great pleasure of interviewing incredible authors about their work. To celebrate our third decade, we’re letting the authors speak for themselves. These are some of our favorite quotes from some of our favorite authors we’ve spoken to over the years. 

 

Writers on reading

“I think it’s a function of the human mind to reach out toward some kind of memorable language. . . . Poetry in some form or other is part of everything I do. There will never be any other orientation. . . . I come from the back pages of obscure poetry magazines. That’s where I came from and that’s where I’ll go back to.” — James Dickey, 1989

“The book is a perfect form, a physical thing that you can carry with you, that survives power outages and doesn’t need batteries.”— Annie Proulx, 1996

“I can’t explain the sense of relief and salvation I experienced when I discovered what existed in books.”—Anne Lamott, 1997

“I would no sooner fall in love with a humorless book than with a humorless woman.” —Jonathan Franzen, 2001

“I’ve always had this attraction to Graham Greene characters, failed romantics shambling around the world in a dirty seersucker suit. I guess I’m not afraid to make myself look silly.” —Anthony Bourdain, 2001

“Literature has the power, the ability to move men’s and women’s souls.” —Maya Angelou, 2002

“Books mean a lot to me. I love them. I like to handle them. I can look up from my desk and see walls and walls and walls of books. It’s an extraordinary beauty for me.”—Pat Conroy, 2010

“Books also remind me of the enormous culture to which I owe most of what I know and understand.”—Ken Follett, 2010

“Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from fiction.”—Jojo Moyes, 2015

“I think good poetry gives you the impression that it’s being written just for you.”—Billy Collins, 2016

“Most of us have forgotten that we love poetry, but it’s how we learn to communicate as children, in rhythm and rhyme and verse.”—Kwame Alexander, 2017

“It’s an interesting concept, I think, that one sees more of the world when you read than you do with your eyes. That’s just extraordinary.”—Avi, 2017

Writers on writing

“To write a novel is itself such a remarkably hopeful act.”—Richard Ford, 1991

“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”— John Grisham on leaving his career in law to become a writer, 1992

“It makes me really happy to get letters from young women who say that a book I wrote in the ’60s applies to them today.”—Madeleine L’Engle on A Wrinkle in Time in 1993

“I don’t write to investigate my own life or sensibility. I write more to investigate the world.”—Jane Smiley , 1998

“Everything I have today is because of my readers.”—Judy Blume, 1998

“Writing is an enterprise that demands unabated discipline and concentration—but by God, it sure beats working.”—Tom Robbins, 2000

“I have to find the story within the story, to write my way to what is most true.”—Mary Karr, 2000

“I want to retrace a journey into wonder.” —Oliver Sacks, 2001

“Being beat up as much as I was during my childhood is a great preparation for being a writer. To be a writer in America is a contact sport. You’ve got to be tough.” —Pat Conroy, 2002

“If you write clearly and cleanly enough then the reader will get what you want him or her to get. Beyond that I want people to think that they have been in the presence of real people.” —Kent Haruf, 2004

“[T]o conjure up things out of your head and turn them into black marks on paper is a great privilege and remains very exciting to me.”—John Updike, 2006

“Writing a novel is a great excuse to think as deeply as you can about a particular plot of existence, of the world and of being alive.”—David Mitchell, 2006

“My standard line is that writing is like taking a car trip. If I don’t know where I’m going and I don’t have a map, I don’t get there.”—Ann Patchett, 2007

“Wherever I go, I always write in bed.”—Gary Shteyngart, 2010

“Sometimes I write in third person just to prove I can.” — Richard Ford, 2010

“I don’t think you can be a good writer and a bad listener.”—Amy Bloom, 2014

“I learned from Twain that if you’re going to go to dark places, you’d best go armed with humor.”—Richard Russo, 2016

“I know some writers who can tell you what their next three books will be, but I can’t tell you what my next three paragraphs will be.”—Carl Hiaasen, 2016

“Novels are not about showing how people are wrong or right—novels are about trying to swim in a certain mental climate and depict and understand it.”—Zadie Smith, 2016

“In writing, the use of humor at its highest level is trying to mimic the comic nature of the universe.”—George Saunders, 2017

“That’s my aspiration, always—to try and convey a truthful emotion.”—Elizabeth Strout, 2017

“I enjoy the public part of being an author. I’m not some monastic introvert. I love doing events. I love meeting readers.”—Julia Glass, 2017

“Ultimately, the long battle for the heart and soul of fiction may depend less on an author’s willingness to explore a prescriptive moral position than on that author’s willingness to break out of merely human stories into a celebration of wonder and astonishment and humility and awe.”—Richard Powers, 2018

Writers on living well

“Follow your inner voice, never listen to anyone. I’ve done it all my life, sometimes as a clown or a fool, but I follow anyway, whether I am right or wrong.”—Norman Mailer, 1991

“I think pure intellect is impossible. It’s always going to be tainted by these odd, primitive impulses that we have. One cannot repress the irrational.”—Donna Tartt, 1992

“[E]ating is one of those things that you have to do every day, so you might as well do it as enjoyably as possible.” —Peter Mayle, 1992

“As we reveal different worlds to each other, we move forward into being more compassionate people.” —Alice Walker, 1996

“I’m just always seeking to find something new.”—T.C. Boyle, 2009

“I’m always looking for that connective tissue that binds one piece of humanity to the next.”—James McBride, 2009

“The simpler life, the better. An hour of conversation with my wife or a walk with my dog is more interesting than a lifetime on Twitter.”—Dean Koontz, 2017

“I would like readers to realize that at the heart, we are all human beings. We all love and grieve and struggle and hunger and yearn, regardless of our race.”—Jesmyn Ward, 2017

 

 

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