What made you want to write?

We asked writers to talk about why they became a writer, whether it was something in their childhood or they came to it later in life. You may be surprised, as we were, by the differences in the answers below.

José Olivarez

“So for me that was that feeling of POWER, of being able to tell my OWN story as opposed to just reading it in textbooks.”

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Joseph O’Neill

“I feel like one of the GIFTS of coming to American has been to enable me to write in the tradition of the IMMIGRANT, which is a very important tradition in American literature.”

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Yiyun Li

“Writing a book is like GIVING BIRTH to a child. You just have to send this child into the world and the child will have its own life.”

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