Happy Birthday, Marina Lewycka, born 12 October 1946
10 Writing Quotes
- I’ve always been writing, ever since I was a child. Poetry was my first love but I also wrote plays and stories, and two complete novels. They were rather serious books with big issues. I had lots of rejections. Tractors was very different, and I really never thought it would be published – why would they publish this funny, silly book? But they did. I was 57 when it was accepted and 59 when the book came out. It’s nice to be starting a new career at 60!
- Friends and family are useless as critics – they will always say it’s wonderful, either because they think everything you do is wonderful, or because they love you, and want to spare your feelings. So the protective environment of a writing course is a good place to start showing other people your work. You can also learn a lot from reading other people’s efforts.
- I have a great belief in human nature. When you talk to people the goodness just comes out.
- You think comedy isn’t serious, but with comedy you can say such a lot that serious can’t. Comedy can expose the depths of the soul; funny is what we are when we least intend to be.
- One of the nice things about being a writer is that no one recognises you.
- I like to learn something as I write. I often start out with a subject I don’t know very much about and finding out more makes the process more interesting.
- My preferred place to write is in bed propped up with lots of cushions, and a nice pot of tea on a tray – but it can be hard on the back.
- I’m a huge fan of Chaucer, he has the most wonderful characters, and I drew on him a lot for Two Caravans.
- You must have a good story and find the right voice to tell it. Another useful tip is show, don’t tell. In other words, don’t write that a character behaved badly, show us their bad behaviour instead.
- Go on a course. After many rejections, I did, and was published as a result.
Marina Lewycka is a British novelist of Ukrainian origin. Her debut novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian was long-listed for the 2005 Man Booker Prize and short-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction.
Read my 2008 Interview with Marina Lewycka