On Writing

How do we become aware of class in America?

Always, I have wondered: What does it feel like to be another person? This question is the furnace behind my work. But when you write about people, you are writing about class. Time and place in history determine a great deal, and if you consider place to be a place in society, then that shapes a life, as well.
— Elizabeth Strout, "How do we become aware of class in America?"
How do we become aware of class in America?
Elizabeth Strout, Washington Post, August 28, 2017

The Atlantic: When Memories Are True Even When They’re Not

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Elizabeth Strout discusses Louise Glück’s poem “Nostos” and the powerful way literature can harbor recollection.

Glück seems to be saying that childhood is the only constant, immutable thing, while everything that comes after that—“the rest,” she says, our whole adult life—occurs in the shifty arena of memory. Our whole present tense takes place in the shadows of the original, pure impressions of childhood.
— Elizabeth Strout
"By Heart: When Memories Are True Even When They’re Not"
Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, May 2, 2017

The Guardian: "My writing day"

I am a very messy worker – I push these scenes around our table. It is a big table, and over time I realise which scenes are connected. I have never written anything from beginning to end, not a story or a novel. I just collect different scenes, and the ones that aren’t any good to me, get slipped on to the floor and eventually into the wastebasket.

On Writing Olive Kitteridge

I am always interested in the fact that in small communities people believe they know each other, and yet they know only a sliver of that person. It fascinates me to think of the point of view of every person being different.
Elizabeth Strout on writing Olive Kitteridge, Waterstones Blog

Waterstones bookshops in the UK has selected Olive Kitteridge as their Fiction Book of the Month for August. They invited me to write a little something on writing Olive Kitteridge for their blog. So there it is!

NY Times: Elizabeth Strout on ‘Lucy Barton’

Don’t make the mistake of blurring the line between fiction and truth, a novelist named Sarah Payne warns in Elizabeth Strout’s latest book, “My Name Is Lucy Barton.”

. . . She’s speaking to her own fictional audience, and possibly to us, too. But who knows which voice reflects whose view in the deceptively simple but many-layered world of “Lucy Barton”?
Sarah Lyall, The New York Times