Literary Birthday – 7 June – Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen was born 7 June 1899 and died 22 February 1973.


  1. Silences can be as different as sounds.
  2. Experience isn’t interesting until it begins to repeat itself. In fact, till it does that, it hardly is experience.
  3. Characters are not created by writers. They pre-exist and have to be found.
  4. The most striking fault in work by young or beginning novelists, submitted for criticism, is irrelevance–due either to infatuation or indecision. To direct such an author’s attention to the imperative of relevance is certainly the most useful–and possibly the only–help that can be given.
  5. Some people are moulded by their admirations, others by their hostilities.
  6. Certain books come to meet me, as do people.
  7. Though not all reading children grow up to be writers, I take it that most creative writers must in their day have been reading children.
  8. Dialogue in fiction is what characters do to one another.
  9. Jane Austen, much in advance of her day, was a mistress of the use of the dialogue. She used it as dialogue should be used-to advance the story; not only to show the characters, but to advance.
  10. Mechanical difficulties with language are the outcome of internal difficulties with thought.
  11. Yes, writing a novel, my boy, is like driving pigs to market – you have one of them making a bolt down the wrong lane; another won’t get over the right stile.
  12. The craft of the novelist does lie first of all in story-telling.

Read: Elizabeth Bowen’s 7 Tips For Writing Dialogue

Elizabeth Bowen was an Irish- British novelist and short story writer, notable for some of the best fiction about life in wartime London. Her final novel, Eva Trout: Or The Changing Scenes (1968), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Source for quotes

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 6th June 2020