Links: Don’t Quote Me

Per Wästberg, chair of the Nobel Committee for Literature, spoke at Harvard last week, playing it both ways regarding his colleague Horace Engdahl: American literature is provincial, yes, but: “[Engdahl] said many things out of frustration at the end of an interview…that were not wise,” Wästberg said. “I regret that.”

Lionel Shriver to fiction writers who don’t use quotation marks because doing so would compromise the elegance of your dialogue or some other such horsehockey: “Knock it off!”

Richard Russo talks about working with Paul Newman, abandoning academia, and, mostly, his writing habits, which he gets at by way of the habits of John Cheever, who wrote in a basement storage room:

“He brought a sandwich and sat there in his underwear,” Russo remarked. “Mid-day he’d have his sandwich, edit what he had written, retype it and put it into a box. At 5 he’d get dressed and ride up in the elevator with the same people. He did this five days a week. I don’t necessarily recommend that routine, but the point of the story is that writing’s a job and you have to treat it like any other job. There will be times if you’re talented and lucky where you will be visited by inspiration, but you’ll discover it doesn’t change your habits all that much.”

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