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Friday, October 2, 2015

Those 'observational' powers


“The great advantage of being a writer is that you're there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see - every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties.” – Graham Greene

Greene's quote also is interesting in that he was believed to have worked as a spy for the British government during World War II and beyond while continuing to hone his writing career.   Born on this day in 1904, he is regarded as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, reinforced by author John Irving, who described him as "the most accomplished living novelist in the English language."  
  
Shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Greene produced 25 novels that mostly explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world.  He also wrote short stories, essays, plays and movie scripts and worked as a journalist during a 67-year career.  He was working as an editor on The Times of London when his first novel, The Man Within, was published in 1929 to immediate critical acclaim.   In 1941, he won the prestigious Hawthornden Prize for his masterpiece The Power and the Glory.

 
Considered one of the most “cinematic” of 20th century writers (nearly all of his novels and many of his short stories were made into movies or television shows), his characters are both interesting and controversial, for which Greene had a logical explanation.   “(You know) the moment comes when a character does or says something you hadn't thought about.  At that moment he's alive and you just have to leave it to him to do whatever he prefers.”


  
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