John Irving recently released “The Avenue of Mysteries,” the 14th novel of his celebrated career. “The World According to Garp,” which won the National Book Award in 1980, was his first international bestseller. “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” a story of friendship during the divisive Vietnam War era, is regarded as an “American classic” is and his all-time bestselling novel. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2000 for “The Cider House Rules,” a film adapted from his novel and nominated for a total of seven Academy Awards.
Irving was the featured guest at the University of Louisville Kentucky Author Form on Nov. 10. He was interviewed by arts scholar and journalist Sam Tanenhaus, a contributor to Bloomberg Politics and Bloomberg View, and a columnist and associate editor for the British monthly Prospect.
The full Kentucky Author Forum interview audio can be streamed in the above player.
“Everything about my process is slow, including writing itself, and it’s deliberately so,” he said. “I need to know especially everything about the end of the story because my novels are ending-driven. I need to be writing toward not just what happens in the story, but how it sounds, what the voice is. I need to have written that voice of the ending and be writing toward it. It’s totally common for a novel to wait eight, 10 years before I begin it, and then to take another three, seven years for me to write it.”