Paul Theroux Talks E-books

The Atlantic has their fiction 2010 issue published. As always, it is a great collection of stories and essays, including one by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65), on “Fiction in the Age of E-books”…..The Atlantic says that analysts estimate Americans will buy on the order of 6 million e-readers this years–and by 2014, an estimated 32 million people will own one. What does this mean to writers, storytelling, etc., they asked Theroux in a short q & a. that appears in the current issue.

In part of his replies about e-books, Paul replied, “Movable type seemed magical to the monks who were illuminating manuscripts and copying texts. Certainly e-books seem magical to me.”

Paul, however, admits that he still writes his first drafts in longhand.

Finally, the interviewer asks: What’s your advice for a young person who wants to grow up to become a fiction writer?

PT: Notice how many of the Olympic athletes effusively thanked their mothers for their success? “She drove me to my practice at four in the morning,” etc. Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home.

Paul might have added, “Join the Peace Corps and go to Africa as I first did back in the summer of  ’63.”

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