Conversations on Writing Fiction

Interviews With Thirteen Distinguished Teachers of Fiction Writing in America

Aspiring fiction writers will find nuggets of advice and wisdom in these 13 engaging interviews with high-profile practitioners like T. Coraghessan Boyle, Jane Smiley and Madison Smartt Bell. All of the interviewees either teach, or have taught, in college writing programs or independent creative writing workshops, and some learned their art as students in such programs (Boyle, for example, studied under John Irving at the Iowa Writers' Workshop). Here, Irving himself tells budding novelists how to develop stamina, while Clarence Major speaks of the challenge of reaching beneath the surface trappings of one's culture to tap the depths of human experience. Meanwhile, Gail Godwin encourages "getting everything you can out of everything you know," and Gordon Lish, mentor to numerous authors, emphasizes the importance of "will" and hard work. Other contributors include Stanley Elkin, Nicholas Delbanco, R.H.W. Dillard, George Garrett, Eve Shelnutt and Rosellen Brown. Their hard-won insights on both the craft and teaching of writing will help others hone their skills and find their voices.

- Publishers Weekly

Can writing be taught? Interviews with 13 of America's most distinguished creative writing teachers explore this question and a host of related issues. Authors interviewed include Madison Smartt Bell, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Rosellen Brown, Nicholas Delbanco, R.H.W. Dillard, Stanley Elkin, George Garrett, Gail Godwin, John Irving, Gordon Lish, Clarence Major, Eve Shelnutt, and Jane Smiley. Individual teaching styles, the different approaches of writing programs from one school to the next, the influence of writing teachers, and the effect of writing programs on the quality of American literature are key topics discussed. This book will be most useful to students interested in enrolling in a creative writing program. Academic libraries supporting such programs will also want to purchase it.

- Library Journal

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