John Irving
Lecture Date: 3-25-1996
Click the link below to listen ot his celebrity's lecture:
Interview: Writer John Irving is introduced by Dean John Eadie and poet Diane Wakoski. Wakoski praises Irving's determination to introduce nineteenth century morals to the twentieth century world via his novels, despite numerous setbacks and harsh criticism. John Irving imparts an anecdote from which he wrote a story concerning a red and blue air mattress that was published in a German magazine. The author then reads part of this story, which is about a widowed novelist. The purpose of this reading is to demonstrate Irving's writing process and his struggle with writing, particularly exemplifying where he went wrong in this particular piece. The author is dissatisfied with this piece and partially rewrote it under a different title, which he reads, starting in a completely different place in the main character's life. Irving continues by explaining his method for choosing structures and voices for his works. When questioned by the audience, Irving discusses his novels and how he chose voices for them. All of the characters in his novel are entirely fictional because it allows for more creativity than if they were based on actual people. Many of the topics covered in John Irving's novels are controversial, but he claims he did not write them for the purpose of bringing these issues to the surface but only to tell the story of a character. Irving also discusses his career in screenwriting, his influences (or lack thereof), his apprenticeship as a writer, and his advice on the teaching of writing.
Biography: John Irving (1942- ) an author born in Exeter, New Hampshire, first received major recognition for his fourth novel, The World According to Garp (1978). Nominated for a National Book Award, this novel describes the career of a novelist and typifies his style of combining eccentric characters and fantastic plot developments. Other works include Setting Free the Bears (1979), The Hotel New Hampshire (1981), The Cider House Rules (1985), A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), A Widow for One Year (1998), and The Fourth Hand (2001). Several of his novels have been made into films.