Annie Dillard spoke to NPR’s Scott Simon about her new novel The Maytrees, and about the craft of writing in general. Known primarily for her non-fiction (An American Childhood, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek), Dillard has spent most of her time writing fiction in recent years. Still, as she tells Simon, this most recent effort took ten years to complete and “nearly killed me.”

In this interview, she discusses how she pares down her sentences to their basic forms, always looking for fewer and fewer syllables.

Dillard rarely grants interviews, so it’s a treat to actually listen to this consummate practitioner of the writing craft. She says The Maytrees will be her final book. One hopes that this is a premature retirement, but while listening to her, I couldn’t help but think that she might be serious.

Listen to the interview here.

One thought on “A Mini-Master Class with Annie Dillard”

  1. I’ve had the pleasure of reading The Maytrees as I work at Hesperus Press, where we’re thrilled to have gained the UK rights to the novel and will be publishing it in hardback at the end of September.

    Having been exposed to the wonderfully fertile language of the novel, I’m not at all surprised that it took ten years to write. Strangely, although it’s obvious that the language is a skilfully condensed version of originally much longer drafts, it’s never too dense or oblique.

    Thank you for posting this link here. I currently have no speakers, but have made a note to return to it later.

    Ellie, Hesperus Press

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