Susan Orlean

Literary Birthday – 31 October – Susan Orlean

Happy Birthday, Susan Orlean, born 31 October 1955.


  1. You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.
  2. I don’t need to be in a perfectly quiet place to write. I don’t need a lot of fussy special conditions. But I do need the material that I work from within reach, and I do need a certain sense that I’m not going to be interrupted for a chunk of time.
  3. You should read as much as possible. That’s the best way to learn how to write.
  4. You have to appreciate the spiritual component of having an opportunity to do something as wondrous as writing. You should be practical and smart and you should have a good agent and you should work really, really hard. But you should also be filled with awe and gratitude about this amazing way to be in the world.
  5. Most writing doesn’t take place on the page; it takes place in your head.
  6. I think of myself as something of a connoisseur of procrastination, creative and dogged in my approach to not getting things done.
  7. My inspiration is really very simple: I’m struck by things that I want to know more about. I really do react just as a curious person: who is this person? What’s the story behind this situation? Why do people like this or dislike this thing?
  8. Libraries are what is best about us as a society: open, exciting, rich, informative, free, inclusive, engaging.
  9. Sometimes I think I’ve figured out some order in the universe, but then I find myself in Florida, swamped by incongruity and paradox, and I have to start all over again.

Susan Orlean is an American journalist and author. She has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992. She is best known as the author of The Orchid Thief, which was adapted for film. Meryl Streep received an Academy Award nomination for her performance as Orlean.

Source for image

Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 30th October 2017