I am addicted to interviews with writers. Those who follow my 150 ‘rules’ for writing fiction will know I seek interviews out, skin, fillet, and debone them, slicing away the choicest quotations and sharing them here on this blog. It is a compulsion, a relatively harmless habit I like to think, a leisure activity as well as being part of my professional development. I love thinking about process and hearing about what other writers, of all forms, do. When those writers are some of the pillars of twentieth century English literature, I know I need to pay attention, but I’m in for a phenomenal time.
Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Rebecca West, Christopher Isherwood, EM Forster, Muriel Spark, Aldous Huxley, Daphne du Maurier…
It is a roll call of the great – and not only in their own words, but their own voices, too. I have stumbled across an archive of BBC interviews, a treasure trove of experience and anecdote, and in spoken word. This resource has been readily available and for some time on the net – but assuming you too have overlooked the archive, I urge you to seek it out.
Here is eleven minutes with Elizabeth Bowen from October 1956, discussing the importance of character to the novel – her voice regal and of another age. Or twenty four minutes and forty two seconds with Iris Murdoch from May 1965, debating the artistic conflict between philosophy and novel-writing, freedom and form….
There are more recent names, too: Toni Morrison, Alan Bennett, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Berger, Angela Carter, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel…. It is a wonderful resource and well worth exploring. You’ll find it at: