I’m a big fan of the Guardian‘s profiles, because I almost always discover an unsual tidbit of information about the authors they pick. This week, Aida Edemariam profiles Annie Proulx, and I found her take on ‘write what you know’ quite refreshing.
The top floor of her house is filled with books, yet she only keeps those she likes. “It’s very hard to mention a book she has not read,” says Jenkins. She believes the best way to learn to write is to read – her own extensive and ever-changing list includes Thomas Mann, Patrick White, JF Powers, Haldor Laxness, Milorad Pavic, Flann O’Brien; she famously scorns that well-worn dictum, to write what you know. All it produces, she has said, is “tiresome middle-class novels of people who I think are writing about things they know, but you wish to God they didn’t. My thing is, learn what you want to write about. Find out about it.”
That, and I like a woman who built her own house.