In this Telegraph essay, British author and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi (Intimacy, The Body, The Last Word) argues that writers, by spending too much time on the safe questions of plot and dialogue, are missing the importance of digging deep into the imagination and the "useful trouble" it may offer.
Today marks Toni Morrison’s 83rd birthday, author of Beloved, Sula, and Song of Solomon. Last December, Morrison sat down with author Junot Diaz for a compelling conversation for Live from the New York Public Library. Celebrate Morrison’s birthday as she speaks about writing what you don’t know and how characters are like ghosts.
In this endearing animated video produced by Blank on Blank, the late children’s book author Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) talks about not shying away from writing the barbaric in children’s books and how his uncensored family spurred his creative life.
“I’ve always had a deep respect for children and how they solve complex problems by themselves. [They survive] I think through shrewdness, fantasy and just plain strength. They want to survive.”
For more animated videos by Blank on Blank, click here.
The folks behind Thought Catalog have compiled a great roundup of quotes from acclaimed author Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, 1Q84, and so many more groundbreaking literary works). Be moved by some of Murakami’s words of wisdom including gems like:
Author Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Year of the Flood, and, her latest, MaddAdam) chats with Big Think about the difficulties of writing exposition. The author of speculative fiction breaks down what a writer should do when writing exposition with a goal of making the text appear seamless. Atwood also talks about her love of writing poetry and pushing against being pigeonholed as a fiction writer.
"The [hardest] parts of the novel are the parts when you know there are parts that the reader has to know but it’s not very interesting for you to write. Those are the parts that I don’t like. If you are competent enough, they won’t be able to tell which of those parts we are hoping the readers will not notice. We hope. We are always hoping.” – Margaret Atwood
This week’s Bookmark This! features the acclaimed author Gabriel Garcia Marquez in an extended interview with the Paris Review. The Nobel Prize-winning author explains how his career in journalism shaped his fiction and gives interesting tips on how to incorporate journalistic style into the fantastical.
On Writers’ Reel this week, we take a look at the PBS show Charlie Rose. The TV talk show host and journalist has invited many celebrated authors to sit and converse about their process. This 13-minute video features clips of Joan Didion, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Franzen, Malcolm Gladwell, and more.
“A book is somebody’s best self. I’m better when I’m writing. I’m more considerate. I'm more humane. You’re trying to write about other people, you’re not thinking about yourself." Zadie Smith
Watch Zadie Smith talk about the power of words and Joan Didion confess to facing difficulty in writing novels.
To view more Charlie Rose interviews, click here.
"The book that launched a million blog posts titled 'What We Talk About…' (but don’t blame it for that, please), Raymond Carver’s 1981 book is one of the most important collections of the 20th century, complete with all the hard luck, bad relationships, and occasional death for which the author is known and, yes, loved.”
"How do you pick just one book by the 2013 Nobel Prize winner who has made a career out of writing short fiction? A difficult task, no doubt, but this 1978 volume that uses one single character as the centerpiece and splinters out from there is a uniquely interesting — and successful — experiment in short fiction."
Author Tom Perrotta (Election, Little Children) takes on the age-old advice of writing what you know in this candid discussion for Big Think. He also talks about his process in writing his 1998 novel Election, a novel that was adapted for film starring Reese Witherspoon.
“If you are lucky you’ll eventually find a voice or find a subject matter that you’re passionate about. That to me is really the crucial thing, somehow having your work connect with your obsessions and your passions.”