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Today our Interviews Editor, Mia Funk, talks with us about The Interviews section of Litro,
I try to approach the interview as a reader and that means following my curiosity while respecting the author’s privacy. I’m interested in their body of work, so I try to read almost everything they’ve written. I don’t consider myself to be critic, I’m an interviewer, a devoted reader trying to share writers I like with the wider world.
Is there one thing that makes these interviews different? –– Apart from reading their latest book, I feel I owe it to the author to be fully familiar with their work. I hope this comes across in the conversations. As an artist, myself, we’re on the same side. I want readers to feel like they’re eavesdropping on the author’s creative process, getting a little glimpse into how it all came together.
I like to interview all kinds of writers, serious authors and literary writers who use humour. For example, it was a pleasure interviewing George Saunders because his work is so original. Right away you know you have some leeway and he won’t take questions the wrong way. I asked him if he were walking to work one day and the ground suddenly opened up and he was swallowed by a giant sinkhole, what stories would he want his friends and family to have as a reminder of him and what he thought and felt about the world.
I think it’s just coincidence that some of the writers I interview are activists. What unites them, I guess, is that many of them are teachers, so they’re passionate about education. Junot Díaz, Joyce Carol Oates, TC Boyle, Dave Eggers…I really admire their use of voice to highlight some of our most pressing issues: race, education, immigration, environment, the alienating effects of technology. The issues that touch us all. The interviews end by me making a portrait of the writer.
Are writers innately different than other non-writers? –– What they do requires so much solitude. To describe a world that they must absent themselves from in order to write it – what a contradiction. And the fact that they do it so convincingly – noticing many details that we who lead more extroverted lives fail to notice – it’s a miracle, really. The creative process, this tapping into the collective unconscious, always fills me with wonder.
Are you a publisher coming out with a book which you feel would interest Litro readers? Do you represent writers who might like to talk with us about their creative process?