Writers Speak: Interviews with Great Authors

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Creativity is contagious. For those of a literary bent, diving into a classic novel or wandering through collections of poetry are great ways to get the juices flowing. But sometimes we want to go deeper: who are these writers, really? What makes them tick? And what can we learn from their experiences?

Most of us don’t have the connections (or the time-travel technology) to go meet our inspirations in person. But luckily for us, the Web offers plenty of chances to get closer to these great writers.

The Paris Review made a big splash recently by offering up hundreds of lengthy interviews on its website, spanning nearly six decades and a who’s-who of contemporary literary giants from William Faulkner to Salman Rushdie, Jorge Luis Borges to Nadine Gordimer. For anyone looking to discover the motives and methods of modern writers, browsing the Paris Review archive is like hitting the jackpot. And tucked away in a corner of the site is a further treasure: a collection of audio recordings featuring masters reading or talking about their work.

Here are a few more places to find interviews with great writers. What are your favorites?

  • Powell’s Books – Portland, Oregon’s massive independent bookseller has a large and growing collection of interviews with current writers.
  • “Why I Write” – This series of brief interviews from The Guardian ended in 2008, but it’s full of fascinating real-world insights. And don’t miss the rest of The Guardian’s excellent books coverage.
  • Barnes & Noble Review – A frequently updated archive of interviews with fiction and nonfiction authors, run in partnership with salon.com.
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