The Nobel Prize winner is a role model for writers looking to bridge the personal, domestic details of the short story with the global forces of history, author Kyle Minor says.
The lesson author Dorthe Nors took from Ingmar Bergman: It's not drugs, poverty, or wild lovers that make a great writer. It's discipline and time alone.
Rebecca Mead, New Yorker staff writer and author of My Life in Middlemarch, shares what Eliot's Middlemarch taught her about love, marriage, and journalism.
Author and journalist Jennifer Percy was a committed physics major until a Lawrence Sargent Hall story showed her a more satisfying way to approach life's complexities.
Author Ben Marcus says the beautiful but sorrowful strangeness of Kafka's "A Message from the Emperor" make it a perfect piece of writing.
The veteran author says Theodore Roethke's poetry is a reminder that sometimes you're hot, sometimes you're not.
Highlights from 12 months of interviews with writers about their craft and the authors they love
Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” helps remind the Joy Luck Club author to capture the “microscopic” details that make her characters unique.
Committing the words of Wallace Stevens to memory unlocked an emotional and physical magic within her, Bender says.
Author Paul Auster says Beckett shows how important laughter is in writing.
Russell Banks's biggest inspiration isn't another author—it's a gravestone inscription lurking near his desk.
The Eat, Pray, Love author celebrates the late Jack Gilbert, whose works challenge readers to find joy within suffering.
Bob Shacochis confronts the tension between exploring the everyday "frivolity" of our private worlds and making broad statements about the one we share.
Young-adult novelist Robin Wasserman says the famous horror writer empowered her as a teen reader by capturing the uneasy teenage phase between childhood and adulthood.
Alexie never thought he could leave his reservation to pursue a writing career—but a line written by Adrian C. Louis taught him to venture outside the "reservation of his mind."
Andre Dubus III, author of Dirty Love and The House of Sand and Fog, explains why the best work happens when you "back the fuck off."
His new book translates works by Karl Kraus, whose misgivings toward progress mirror Franzen's belief that technology can be "very harmful" to artistic production.
Author Ron Carlson was an unassuming, baseball-playing college student until a Fitzgerald story turned him into an impassioned English-major library vandal.
Novelist Paul Harding explains what Cheever's short story "The Jewels of the Cabots" taught him about portraying humans' contradictory impulses.
In 1972, Daniel Woodrell traded part of his lunch for a copy of Ernest Hemingway's posthumous novel. After he read it, he became determined to be a writer.
Edwidge Danticat, author of Claire of the Sea Light, believes that "re-creating your entire life is a form of reinvention on par with the greatest works of literature."
Jonathan Franzen, Margaret Atwood, David Gilbert, Roxane Gay, and other writers share their thoughts on what makes an inviting and memorable opening sentence.
The author of horror classics like The Shining and its 2013 sequel Doctor Sleep says the best writers hook their readers with voice, not just action.
The radio host accompanied his friend and collaborator to a dance-company show five months before his death in 2012—and inspired a passage in Rakoff's newly published book.
Hanan al-Shaykh, author of The Story of Zahra and Beirut Blues, puts new emphasis on the lessons about compassion in Shahrazad's—or Scheherazade's—famous stories.
Cotton Tenants, the long-lost magazine story that led to And Now Let Us Praise Famous Men, finally sees publication—at a time when its message seems more urgent than ever.
The author of All the Dead Yale Men doesn't just tweak when he rewrites—he tries on entirely new points of view and genre styles to learn more about the story he's telling.
Author Peter Orner pays tribute to of one of the past century's great character builders.
Author Jessica Francis Kane explains how the Roman emperor's words about perseverance have helped her career.
The author of The Kite Runner and And the Mountains Echoed touts the introduction of Stephen King's "The Body" as a poignant encapsulation of an author's limitations.
Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon, makes the case.
Author Anthony Marra read new meaning into a line from Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son, years after that line had altered the way Marra thought about writing.
For Pollan, "eating is an agricultural act" offers more insight into how food relates to the world than Thoreau or Emerson's words ever could.
Fiona Maazel, the author of Woke Up Lonely and Last Last Chance, shares her favorite passage from her former teacher Jim Shepard.
Author Aatish Taseer, a chronicler of young Muslims, shares his favorite Naipaul passage.
Novelist Jim Crace, whose prose has been analyzed by mathematicians for its rhythm, learned his technique from the childhood counting game 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor.'
Author Steven Barthelme shares how he came to appreciate 'Lady With Lapdog.'
'Drinking With Men' author Rosie Schaap found this poem when she needed it most.
The 'Twelve Tribes of Hattie' author shares her thoughts on a 1937 work by Osip Mandelstam. Plus: a song!