Literary Birthday – 27 June – Alice McDermott

Happy Birthday, Alice McDermott, born 27 June 1953.


  1. We are surrounded by story.
  2. Every life is an amalgam, and it is impossible to know what moments, what foibles, what charms will come to define us once we’re gone. All we can do is live our lives fully, be authentically ourselves, and trust that the right things about us, the best and most fitting things, will echo in the memories of us that endure.
  3. A tendency to make metaphorical connections is an occupational hazard for those of us who write.
  4. I suppose I’ve never set out to write a novel in which nothing happens…only to write a novel about the lives of certain characters.
  5. We’re deluged with stories of things that have happened, events, circumstances, actions, etc. We need some stories that reveal how we think and feel and hope and dream.
  6. We are at the mercy of time, and for all the ways we are remembered, a sea of things will be lost.
  7. I read a little bit of non-fiction and a lot of poetry. I think of poetry as my shot of whiskey when I don’t have time to savour a whole bottle of wine.
  8. The writing itself is the thing that generates stories for me.
  9. The thing that fiction can do is look from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Even memoir leaves me somewhat frustrated. I think now we need a poet to uncover what isn’t on the surface.
  10. Any fiction writer who assumes that a character is typical no doubt runs the risk of stumbling into cliché and stereotype.
  11. I have a great fondness for the liars in my stories.
  12. When I’m not writing, I can’t make sense of out anything. I feel the need to make some sense and find some order, and writing fiction is the only way I’ve found that seems to begin to do that.
  13. If there’s anything fun about composing a novel—and on many days, I’m not sure there is—it’s in finding the architecture of a story.

Alice McDermott is an American writer. She received an American Book Award and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction for her novel Charming Billy. Her eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in September. Follow her on Facebook: Alice McDermott

Source for image

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 26th June 2017