Key West Literary Seminar
"SPIRIT OF PLACE: American Literary Landscapes"

January 10-13, 2002

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Joy Williams

Joy Williams
Joy Williams

JOY WILLIAMS is the author of the novels State of Grace, The Changeling, and Breaking and Entering, and two collections of short stories, Taking Care and Escapes (as well as The Florida Keys: A History and Guide). Among her many awards and honors are the Rea Award for the short story and the Harold and Mildred Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her widely anthologized works has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, Granta, and Grand Street. She lives in Arizona and Key West.

Q: In the past you've said that you prefer to write in remote, isolated parts of the country. Is this still the case?

A. "Tucson is hardly remote or isolated. It is quickly filling up with people who loathe the desert. They'd prefer to be anywhere else and are turning it into anywhere else. I'm going to England next year for the English publication of the novel by Harvill. I'll be going to Wales too and perhaps I'll just stay there for a long while. Live in a house by the graveyard like the mother in St.. Mawr. I write with agonizing slowness and lack of confidence. A few good sentences a day maybe, hopefully of some substance. I am not at all a 'natural' writer, and am almost always disappointed with what I've produced. Hemingway said, 'Sometimes I get lucky and write better than I know I can.' Or at least that was a quote rendered on a coffee cup I was drinking from in a friend's cabin in Stanley, Idaho. Sometimes my brain just takes pity on me and provides me with a synapse or two. I don't rewrite much. The cure in that eludes me. I find I always make things worse."

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January 10-13, 2002 Seminar
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