The Thrill of a Blank Page

John Irving’s novels have earned him a National Book Award, sold tens of millions of copies and have been translated into over thirty languages. Yet, far from affording him a sense of security, literary fame has made the fresh challenge and anonymity of beginning a new book all the more exhilarating.
  • Transcript


John Irving: I'm John Irving and “Last Night In Twisted River” is my twelfth novel.

Question: Does writing novels get easier with time?

John Irving: You know, because I write all my first drafts in longhand, in these lined notebooks, there's a certain excitement to me that that first blank page of paper doesn't know who you are, it has not read your previous works. So you feel as naive as this sounds, you feel as if you're starting a journey for the first time, whether it's the tenth or the eleventh or the twelfth time, and whether or not the same obsessions that have haunted you for most of your writing life will once again show themselves, you still feel it's a new adventure every time. I like that about the beginning process.

Recorded on: October 29, 2009