The Thrill of a Blank Page
John Irving is the author of twelve books, including “The World According to Garp,” “A Prayer For Owen Meany,” and most recently, “Last Night on Twisted River.” Over his career he has won a National Book Award, an Academy Award for his adaptation of “The Cider House Rules,” and many other honors, and has been translated into over thirty languages. A former competitive wrestler, he splits his time between Vermont and Montreal.
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
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.
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