Interview Roundup, Eleventh and Final Part: Davis, Gimenez-Smith, Dixon, Irving, Borges

“When you’re not wearing your glasses, all you can see is what is close to you. You can’t see the context. You can’t see the rest of the room or across the street. I also didn’t wear my glasses some of the time out of vanity. I have thought about this because I notice it …

Interview Roundup, Part Ten: Eugenides, Jelinek, Adichie, Solzhenitsyn, Carson

“That’s what gave me such trouble and why it took me so long to write the damn book at first. It took me two years to get this first-person omniscient narrator. I was sure I needed a first-person narrator for many reasons. I wanted the story of Calliope’s transformation to be intimate. I also wanted …

Interview Roundup Part Nine: Markson, Hoang, Zhuoxiang, Gudmundsson, Shozo

“I thought The Recognitions was—Lowry being English—the great American novel of that period. That’s the only other letter I wrote to a writer, but it was different from the Lowry one. When The Recognitions came out, it was shat on by every reviewer. They said, ‘How dare he write so long a book? How dare …

Interview Roundup Part Eight: Lasky, Coetzee, Butler, Arasanayagam, Saramago

“I think poetry should do what it was meant to do—exist.  And then the big things that need to be done—like saving the world, for instance—needs to be up to us as humans.  We need poetry, but we need it like we need a tool.  Poetry is our poetry hammer.   And likewise, poetry is human, even as it is …

Interview Roundup Part Seven: Whitehead, Klima, Krilanovich, Touré, Roy

“My whole life I’ve seen those elevator inspection certificates. I’d go to school, when I was a kid, and come back and the person had been there, the exact same guy for 10 years. The elevator seemed perfectly fine, so what’d he do? I was thinking about what would make a funny detective story. Well, …

Interview Roundup Part Six: Kundera, Egan, Dawson, Endo, Simmons

“Musil and Broch saddled the novel with enormous responsibilities. They saw it as the supreme intellectual synthesis, the last place where man could still question the world as a whole. They were convinced that the novel had tremendous synthetic power, that it could be poetry, fantasy, philosophy, aphorism, and essay all rolled into one. In …

Interview Roundup Part Five: Szymborska, Beah, Beattie, Derby, Cicero

“I don’t believe I have a mission. Sometimes I really have a spiritual need to say something more general about the world, and sometimes something personal. I usually write for the individual reader–though I would like to have many such readers. There are some poets who write for people assembled in big rooms, so they …

Interview Roundup Part Four: Place, Jones, Sneed, Dark, Means

“For about 15 minutes a day for 41 days I wrote whatever came into my head. I then began elaborating on these bits. Having a hobbyist’s fascination for neurology, I figured they would being to knit themselves into some sort of pattern, or narrative. They did, though not necessarily all interwoven. I had also heard …

Interview Roundup Part Three: Straub, Lopez, DeLillo, Morrison, Doctorow

“Even when I was in college, that’s always what my professors would say: ‘your voice is so detached.’ What does that mean? I don’t know! I don’t think you really get to choose the way your voice is on a page. A lot of these stories are extremely internal and that just felt natural to …