In Conversation: Encounters with 39 great writers by Ben Naparstek

by
February 2010, no. 318

In Conversation: Encounters with 39 great writers by Ben Naparstek

Scribe Publishing, $32.95, 272 pp

In Conversation: Encounters with 39 great writers by Ben Naparstek

by
February 2010, no. 318

‘My problem is that because of my anxiety disorder, publicity is close to torture,’ Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek tells Ben Naparstek, explaining why she informed a newspaper in 2004 that she hoped she wouldn’t be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (she was). With or without anxiety disorders, writers face a conundrum. They communicate through the written word, but increasingly they also talk aloud in public and in the media. When writers are interviewed, they often traverse an awkward middle ground between adopting a public persona and revealing the inner sources of their inspiration. There is a tension – frequently evident in the pages of In Conversation – between a writer’s need to publicise, explain or defend his or her works and beliefs, and a desire to allow the writing to speak for itself. For many writers, there is also the challenge of making their verbal communication as erudite as their writing. As Norwegian novelist Per Petterson tells Naparstek, ‘Talk is entirely overvalued, I think.’

Patrick Allington reviews 'In Conversation: Encounters with 39 great writers' by Ben Naparstek

In Conversation: Encounters with 39 great writers

by Ben Naparstek

Scribe Publishing, $32.95, 272 pp

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