John Gardner | On Becoming a Novelist #3

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“What the best fiction does is make powerful affirmations of familiar truths…the trivial fiction which times filters out is that which either makes wrong affirmations or else makes affirmations in a squeaky little voice. Powerful affirmation comes from strong intellect and strong emotions supported by adequate technique.”

“the chief offense in bad fiction: we sense that characters are being manipulated, forced to do things they would not really do.” ― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist

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John Gardner (1933–1982) was born in Batavia, New York. His critically acclaimed books include the novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as several works of nonfiction and criticism . including . On Becoming a Novelist. He was also a professor of medieval literature and a pioneering creative writing teacher whose students included Raymond Carver and Charles Johnson. When I worked at Bennington College in Southern VT I would often see him walking across the campus during the Summer Writing Workshops. Or when his white hair was flowing as he rode his beloved motorcycle on campus or away. – j.kiley

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