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Posts from the ‘Author Profiles’ Category

Here’s A Guy Who Wrote His Own Epitaph

It’s said that John O’Hara wrote the epitaph that appears on his tombstone.

You catch that? He wrote his own epitaph.

“Better than anyone else, he told the truth about his time, the first half of the twentieth century. He was a professional.”

“Better than anyone else.” Who says that about themselves—on our their own tombstone, no less?

John O’Hara…that’s who. Read more

How Dyslexia Helped Richard Ford

It would seem to me that dyslexia would be one of the more difficult disabilities to overcome in becoming a writer.

The International Dyslexia Association defines it as such: It is “a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.”

However, for Richard Ford, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sportswriter and Independence Day, the disability has been a bump in the road that, he says, has actually improved his writing.

But it wasn’t easy. Ford said he didn’t read for pleasure until he was 20, and the process of learning how to read and write with dyslexia was slow. He told the Washington Post: Read more

Richard Ford On Finding His Writing Voice

I’ve posted a lot of the Paris Review’s Art of Fiction series interview over the last few years. It’s a really interesting look into the personal and professional lives of a lot of the world’s most famous authors.

The Art of Fiction featured Richard Ford in 1996, and of course he had much to say.

I love Ford’s answer to how his writing developed over the years. Read more

Tolkien In His Own Words

If you’re in the mood for a somewhat dry 1968 BBC documentary about JRR Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, then today’s post is for you!

Below is the first part of the documentary about Tolkien, which is part of the BBC series called “In Their Own Words.”

The setting is the Oxford campus, so the documentary also includes interviews with students and scenes from around campus. There’s dramatic, eerie music, grainy video, and, oh yeah, an interview with Tolkien as he walks throughout Oxford.

He explains how the Hobbit originated and what his thought process was in creating LOTR.

Like I said, a little dull in that 1960s documentary kind of way, but worth a watch if you haven’t seen much of Tolkien on video. Read more

Should A Dead Author’s Private Letters Become Public?

One of the few things that stood out to me while I was reading Possession was this issue of publishing letters of dead authors.

The long-winding story in Possession is partly about this issue, and it touches on a real situation we’ve seen many times over. For example, excerpts from Elizabeth Bowen’s love letters to Charles Ritchie (and many diary entries about him) were published in 2009 as Love’s Civil War: Elizabeth Bowen and Charles Ritchie, Letters and Diaries 1941-1973.

The book’s editor, Victoria Glendinning discusses how she came across the letters in this Guardian article: Read more

Harry Potter Readers Are Stupid

So says A.S. Byatt, author of Possession. I’m paraphrasing.

The more I read about A.S. Byatt, the less likeable she seems.

Last week, we talked about her dismissiveness of bloggers and social media. This week, let’s talk about how much she dislikes Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling. How fun!

Byatt comes across as the quintessential book snob. The complex, fantastical world of Harry Potter isn’t good enough for her. J.K. Rowling is just a simpleton, parroting old clichés.

This comes from an op-ed Byatt wrote for the New York Times in 2003.

Read more

A.S. Byatt: “I’m terrified of accidentally tweeting.”

I stumbled across this interview that The Guardian did with A.S. Byatt a few years ago.

In much of the interview, she discusses the difficulties of communicating reality when reality is, more often than not, filled with the mundane. Within that discussion, she talks about the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter, and I find some of this fascinating because her mindset is so foreign to me.

Read more


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