Lecture Date: 3-16-1998
Click the link below to listen ot his celebrity's lecture:
Interview: Jim McClintock of the Department of English at Michigan State University introduces writer Richard Ford. Ford begins by talking about the nature of writing. He uses language as a way of forcing himself to fit into an environment in which he doesn't belong and as a way of explaining himself to a tough audience, a skill he developed early in his life. He expands on his southern childhood and his family life. Family is a very important force in his life and in his writing. Ford discuses the role of stories in our lives. He praises Mississippi as one of his literary influences, although he doesn't understand why this state has the power to inspire creativity. A question from the audience, leads Ford to discuss his experience as an undergraduate at Michigan State University. He explains the past and future of a character from his novels. The author has a great interest in the ordinary. Ford gives advice to young aspiring writers, which is "talk yourself out of it." He covers such various topics as the adaptation of one of his books into a movie, the difference between writing men and women, researching his novels, the importance of a liberal arts education, and weaknesses in writing style.
Biography: American novelist Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, though he denies his status as a southern writer. Ford has written five novels, his best known being The Sportswriter (1986), a first-person account in the life of novelist-turned-sportswriter, Frank Bascombe. Seen through the eyes of the main character, Ford uses personal reflections to examine American society and culture. Other novels written by Ford include Independence Day (1995) and A Piece of my Heart (1987).