11.14.2004

I really, really love the series of interviews that Ron Hogan, editor of Beatrice, recently conducted with this year's National Book Award nominees.

Here are links to each one, along with my favorite quote. They are all well worth a read. All of the authors sound like such fun! Lucky Ron to get to hang out with them:

"The title character, for example, was inspired by a footnote in Foucault about a man in 19th-century France who had been institutionalized after being caught receiving sexual favors from a young girl. What, she wondered, had been the girl's story, and why hadn't anyone thought to tell it?" Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum

"'It's almost like the book's being republished. There's such a short shelf life for books now, I don’t know how long it was out there, maybe a week. And I’m a W, too, which adds to the problem. What I’d give to be an M or a P,' she laughed." Kate Walbert

"'I feel fairly safe at HarperCollins now,' Tuck said, 'and I have a lovely, lovely editor who's very supportive. But before that I switched publishers three times, and each time it was a struggle to find a new one.' Silber had a similarly 'long, zigzagging' career trajectory: 'I started with Viking and published two books with them when I was young, and then I had a long time when I couldn’t publish with anybody. I finally published with a small press, Sarabande Books, moved to Algonquin and now I'm with Norton.'" Joan Silber and Lily Tuck

"'I thought the judges were very brave to fly in the face of the expected and the commercially proven,' she continued, 'to take up books that had not sold very many copies, that aspired to a certain daring kind of performance at the risk of being less commercially successful. I thought that was something we all wanted—literature that’s not necessarily easy at first, that asks the reader to participate. But the response has been otherwise.'" Christine Schutt

It was so refreshing to get an intimate impression of each author as an individual, rather than endure another sour editorial grimly lamenting the fact that all five nominees are women (scandalous!), and not Philip Roth, five times over (tragic!).

-Lauren

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