Writers in conversation

susan-campbell-bartoletti-hitler-youthI’ve just come across a website that features interviews with authors. This one caught my attention immediately as it is an email conversation between Markus Zusak, whose book The Book Thief was recently featured in our Book Club, and non-fiction history writer Susan Campbell Bartoletti, author of Hitler Youth. It makes fascinating reading into the respective processes and world-views of two very different authors: one a middle-aged American woman (sorry Susan!) and the other a young Australian man.

I think we can learn a lot from ‘eavesdropping’ on other writers – we learn more about Wordsworth as a writer in his letters to Coleridge than anywhere else. What writer’s correspondence have you read that brought their work into perspective? What do you think of the Zusak / Bartoletti series?

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  1. Saving the cat – what fiction writers can learn from screenwriters.
  2. Overcoming writers’ block
  3. Beginner Blogging for Writers: part 1

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5 comments on “Writers in conversation

  1. writinggb on said:

    Author interviews are great — I especially love having my writing students read them. Makes writers more real to them and helps them to think that perhaps they, too, could be a published writer one day!

  2. Jim Murdoch on said:

    I think that’s where blogs can be very informative and I’m sure I’ve revealed more about myself on my blog that I ever intended especially in the comments where people draw me out a bit. I try to be quite reserved normally.

    As you like interviews you might want to check out ‘The Paris Review’ interviews. There’s a rare one with Philip Larkin that I’ve referred to often. Here’s the link:


  3. Fiona on said:

    Thanks for the link Jim, I’ll check it out.

  4. Malcolm Campbell on said:

    You’ll also find many flavors of author conversations in author sites that come with forums as well as in the comments left on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Diana Gabaldon, for example, has been a long-time regular on CompuServe’s books and writer forum. Very generous with her time when new writers are looking for advice, the tone of her posts also brings to life the author behind the books in the Outlander series.


  5. Fiona on said:

    Although getting to know an author beyond what they reveal of themselves in their ‘professional’ writing, can sometimes ruin a reading experience. After reading extracts from Leonard Woolf’s correspondence about Virginia’s abuse of him, I struggle to read her work now. On the other hand, reading that Henri Nouwen’s friends and relatives found him an extremely difficult person to be with allowed me to read his work in a new light. I now saw the tortured soul in all its colour.

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