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Friday, January 6, 2023

'Willing to get lost in a new world'


“I don't think there was a particular book that made me want to write. They all did. I always wanted to write.” – Elizabeth Strout

Strout, who was born this date in 1956, won a Pulitzer Prize for Olive Kitteridge, one of my favorite collections of short stories (and a great HBO mini-series, too). 

A small town product, she grew up mostly in New Hampshire and Maine, where her father was a science professor, and her mother – who she said was a great inspiration for her writing – was a high school teacher. 
I feel an affinity for Strout, both for the “growing up in a small town” connection and her slow and steady writing style.  On top of that, she is a Bates College grad, the alma mater for my oldest daughter. 

Strout has split her writing years between New York City and Portland, Maine, and her short stories and nonfiction pieces have been published in everything from literary magazines to Redbook and Seventeen.  Her most recent book Olive, Again, is a sequel to her earlier masterpiece.

“I'm writing for my ideal reader, for somebody who's willing to take the time, who's willing to get lost in a new world, who's willing to do their part,” she said.  “But then I have to do my part and give them a sound and a voice that they believe in enough to keep going.”

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