Happy Birthday, Katharine Weber, born 12 November 1955
- Writing, putting thoughts and observations into words, is something that comes so naturally to me that I would have to say that the question of finding ideas for my writing is more about filtering out material than it is about searching for inspiration. Everything is potentially of interest to the fiction writer who works the way I do, like a magpie, snatching up glittering bits of detritus from the dirty sidewalk to take home to the nest. My fiction is not literally autobiographical, in that the characters are made up, the events described have never occurred — but at the same time, the sensibilities of certain characters are authentically my own.
- There is a great deal of craft that can be learned in a writing class. I try to offer the kind of information and practical advice to my writing students at Yale that I would have loved when I was just starting out. I try to expose them to writers whose work inspires or infuriates. Beyond a certain point, of course a certain kind of talent is either there or not. But even the most brilliant natural writer needs to know rules of grammar and punctuation before she breaks them.
- The best moment is when I write the last sentence of a novel for the first time. I try to write in sequence, and although I have a very clear sense of the final elements of those last pages very much in mind before I write the first sentence on the first page, I don’t allow myself to write the final sequences until I have truly arrived there.
Katharine Weber is an American novelist and nonfiction writer. She has taught fiction and nonfiction writing at Yale University, Goucher College, and the Paris Writers Workshop. She is the author of The Little Women and The Music Lesson.