Happy Birthday, Susan Straight, born 19 October 1960
- Always listen. Voice and conversation and dialogue will come more easily if you listen closely – to the stories people tell you, even if offhand, and the conversations you overhear at the market, the hotel, the school. There are thousands of stories out there, but writers must be quiet.
- After seven novels, I lately have started giving away my books — real books, printed on paper that has been sewn and bound. It’s not because no one wants to buy them but rather because so many young people still want to hold them, pass them around, write in them and see their own names on the first page. And they often can’t afford to buy books, much less imagine owning an e-reader.
- I believe only fiction and cinema and photography and art and poetry allow us to fully inhabit someone else’s life, and only the novel allows the reader to be fully immersed in that world for days at a time.
- The best advice I ever got from James Baldwin, one of my teachers – secondary characters are so much more important than you might think!
- I take great pleasure in writing someone’s name in a book, because from the time I was 5 and walked three blocks from my house to the grocery store parking lot where the library bookmobile was parked every other week — browsing in that hot, narrow space with my fingers running down the spines of all those novels — I always wanted to keep one.
- I can’t wait to get back to what I am working on, because I want to know what’s going to happen next in the story. It’s my great pleasure. I work and I teach and I have all these kids, but this is my great pleasure: the mystery of what is going to happen to all of these characters.
Susan Straight is an American author. She is a Professor at the University of California and her novels include I Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots, A Million Nightingales, and Highwire Moon.
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