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Posts from the ‘Author Profiles’ Category

What Were You Doing When You Were 24?

Zadie Smith wrote a novel.

And said novel, White Teeth, wasn’t just a novel she threw together, got some clip art for the cover, and self-published on Amazon.

White Teeth is a novel that won countless awards when it was published in 2000, including The James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Book Award in category for first novel, the Guardian First Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize, the Betty Trask Award, and–oh, yeah–the novel was placed on that little thing called the All-Time 100 novels list in 2005.

This was her first novel. I repeat…her first novel!  Read more

Why Was Evelyn Waugh “Apalled” By His Own Work?

The critics love Brideshead Revisited. As you know, it’s on the Time list–that’s why I’m reading it–but it’s also #80 on the Modern Library list of English-language novels in the 20th Century. Newsweek listed the novel as one of its 100 best books of world literature, and the BBC lists it at #45 on its literature list.

By all accounts, this is literature at its finest.

However, the novel’s author, Evelyn Waugh, wasn’t a fan of his own work. In 1950, he wrote to Graham Greene saying “I re-read Brideshead Revisited and was appalled.”

Waugh doesn’t even hold back criticizing the novel in the Brideshead Revisited preface: Read more

The New Yorker Profiles Muriel Spark

The New Yorker, as expected, wrote an outstanding profile of Muriel Spark in 2014.

Check out the whole piece if you’re interested, but I thought I’d highlight a couple of passages.

This first one talks about the nature of a typical Spark protagonist. Read more

The Lifelong Rift Between Muriel Spark And Her Son

Muriel Spark passed away in 2006 at the age of 88.

In her will, Spark left her entire estate (valued at millions of dollars, according to The Standard) to a female friend of over 40 years.

The surprise here is that Spark’s only son, Robin, got nothing from her estate. She went so far as to write a sealed letter detailing her reasons for cutting him out of the will in case his attorneys came after the money. Read more

Conversations With Marilynne Robinson

Today’s video comes courtesy of the University of Iowa and the Big Ten Network.

As an aside, who knew the Big Ten network produced high-brow literature pieces like this? I thought it was strictly sports.

As an SEC guy, I’ve got to say—um, where you at SEC? Let’s get some William Faulkner documentaries sandwiched in between college baseball games this spring!

Anyway, Marilynne Robinson is on faculty at the University of Iowa and, five years ago, she was interviewed as part of the “Conversations from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop” series.

She talks about her three famous novels—Housekeeping, Gilead and Home—as well as her writing process. It’s an excellent interview if you have the time. Read more

Does Fear Hold You Back?

If you think about it, how much of what we do in our daily lives is motivated by fear?

In an interview with Wyatt Mason for The New York Times in October 2014, Robinson talked about how the emotion of fear has infiltrated our culture like never before. Read more

Marilynne Robinson On Faith And Religion

Marilynne Robinson is one of the few professed Christians I recall reading since I started on the Time list.

She keeps her faith to herself for the most part, so it’s not something she beats you over the head with.

However, she did speak a little about her faith when The Paris Review interviewed her in 2008. Read more

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