Interview with Patrick deWitt

Patrick deWitt was born in 1975. His debut novel Ablutions (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was published in 2009. His second novel, The Sisters Brothers, will be published by Ecco in 2011. He lives in Oregon.

Natasha Stagg: How long, approximately, would you say you’ve been writing?

Patrick deWitt: I’ve been at it since I was 17, with a year lost here and there to your typical devil’s workshop/self-immolation type stuff. I’ve been reading with what could be called diligence or seriousness since about 14.

NS: Do you write every day?

PdW: I take a break once a week to mow the lawn. My landlady loaned me her edger but I can’t summon the zeal to fire it up.

NS: What are your feelings on “writing on writing”?

PdW: Suspicious but perversely fascinated.

NS: Ever read the advice other authors give?

PdW: If it’s someone whose work I’ve admired, of course it’s interesting to know their thoughts, and the gory details of their process. But more often I find myself being told what I must never do by someone whose writing I’m not moved by. This can actually be constructive in that all you have to do to make use of the advice is reverse it.

NS: Do you have some advice to give?

PdW: You can get away with murder if you love and respect your ideal reader.

NS: Who is your favorite author of the moment, and what should we read by them?

PdW: I’m decades late to this, but I just discovered Gilbert Sorrentino. (Read the excellent article about him at The Believer site.) I’m working through his books but my favorite so far is Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things. A good example of what I mean by getting away with murder – charmed me completely.

Photo by Danny Palmerlee

This entry was posted in Interviews, Interviews with Writers by sonorareview. Bookmark the permalink.

About sonorareview

Founded in 1980, Sonora Review is the oldest student-run literary journal in the country. From start to finish, each issue is put together solely by graduate students in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Arizona. All staff members volunteer their time. Former staff members include Antonya Nelson, Robert Boswell, Richard Russo, Tony Hoagland, and David Foster Wallace. Work originally printed in the Sonora Review has appeared in Best of the West and Best American Poetry, and has won O.Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes. Sonora Review maintains a congenial relationship with the Department of English while safeguarding the editors' complete aesthetic and managerial control. You can contact Sonora Review via email at: Or by mail at: Sonora Review Department of English University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s