Annie Proulx

Literary Birthday – 22 August – Annie Proulx

Happy Birthday, Annie Proulx, born 22 August 1935.


  1. You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.
  2. If you get the landscape right, the characters will step out of it, and they’ll be in the right place.
  3. For most of my adult life I simply didn’t think of myself as a writer. But I was always a reader — an omnivorous, greedy one. It’s probably natural for readers to move into writing, and that’s essentially what happened to me.
  4. I rarely put female characters in the up-front place in a story or novel. That is a reflection of the real world, like it or not.
  5. I listen attentively in bars and cafes, while standing in line at the checkout counter, noting particular pronunciations and the rhythms of regional speech, vivid turns of speech and the duller talk of everyday life.
  6. I am influenced by words and the chewiness of language.
  7. What I find to be very bad advice is the snappy little sentence, ‘Write what you know.’ It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow. We don’t develop any facility for languages, or an interest in others, or a desire to travel and explore and face experience head-on. We just coil tighter and tighter into our boring little selves. What one should write about is what interests one.
  8. You know, one of the tragedies of real life is that there is no background music.
  9. It is my feeling that a story is not finished until it is read, and that the reader finishes it through his or her life experience, prejudices, worldview, and thoughts.

Read: Annie Proulx’s 5 Rules For Good Writing

Annie Proulx is an American journalist and author. She has also used the names E. Annie Proulx and E.A. Proulx. Her second novel, The Shipping News won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was adapted as a film of the same name. Her short story Brokeback Mountain was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture. She won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her first novel, Postcards. She has been named winner of the 2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Suggested reading: How To Learn From The Best Short Story Writers

Source for Image: Fuzheado, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 22nd August 2013