Upon publication of his first novel, Balls, author Julian Tepper received pointed advice from one Philip Roth: quit. What the elder statesman, on the verge of his own retirement, was trying to say is that the writing life is “just torture,” and he should spare himself the suffering....more
Posts Tagged: obituaries
Over at The Hairpin, Isabelle Fraser interviews Ann Wroe, obituary writer for The Economist. Wroe has written obituaries for J.D. Salinger, Aaron Swartz, and the 25-year old carp that was “England’s best-loved fish”. On Marie Smith, the last person to speak Eyak, an Alaskan language, she relates:
“She was the only person left who remembered all the different words for all the parts of a spruce tree.
Today in unusual writing jobs: an inside look at what it’s like to be an obituary news writer for the New York Times.
Each day, it is our job to come to know such strangers intimately, inhaling their lives through telephone calls to their families, through newspaper and magazine profiles culled from electronic databases and through the crumbling yellowed clippings from the Times morgue that can fall to dust in our fingers as we read them.
It can be a harrowing experience, Whitman knows, requiring that the writer become an instant historian, assessing in a few hours the dead man’s life with lucidity, accuracy, and objectivity.
Gay Talese believes “Mr. Bad News” is one of the best pieces he ever wrote....more