Literary Birthday – 2 March – Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe was born 2 March 1931 and died 14 May 2018.


  1. I do novels a bit backward. I look for a situation, a milieu first, and then I wait to see who walks into it.
  2. I still believe non-fiction is the most important literature to come out of the second half of the 20th century.
  3. I’m a great believer in outlines.
  4. The reason a writer writes a book is to forget a book and the reason a reader reads one is to remember it.
  5. My entire career, in fiction or non-fiction, I have reported and written about people who are not like me.
  6. My father was the editor of an agricultural magazine called ‘The Southern Planter’. He didn’t think of himself as a writer. He was a scientist, an agronomist, but I thought of him as a writer because I’d seen him working at his desk.
  7. The newspaper is, in fact, very bad for one’s prose style. That’s why I gravitated towards feature stories where you get a little more leeway in the writing style.
  8. Everybody, everybody everywhere, has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad, only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by, their little script.
  9. What I write when I force myself is generally just as good as what I write when I’m feeling inspired. It’s mainly a matter of forcing yourself to write.
  10. The problem with fiction, it has to be plausible. That’s not true with non-fiction.

Tom Wolfe was an American author and journalist. His books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid TestThe Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and A Man in Full. He was also known for his public disputes with other writers, including John Updike, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, and John Irving. Follow the link to see where Tom Wolfe wrote.

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 2nd March 2013