Literary Birthday – 6 November – Colson Whitehead


Happy Birthday, Colson Whitehead, born 6 November 1969

10 Quotes

  1. A society manufactures the heroes it requires.
  2. I think being a writer was a crappy job when you just had typewriters. It was crappy when we just had ink and paper. And it’s sort of crappy now. It’s always just you and the page. That doesn’t change.
  3. We never see other people anyway, only the monsters we make of them.
  4. It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect.
  5. Fiction is payback for those who have wronged you.
  6. Don’t go searching for a subject, let your subject find you. You can’t rush inspiration. … Once your subject finds you, it’s like falling in love. It will be your constant companion. Shadowing you, peeping in your windows, calling you at all hours to leave messages like, Only you understand me.
  7. Racial prejudice rotted one’s faculties.
  8. Memory is the most malicious cutter of all, preserving, recasting, panning in slow motion across the awful bits so that we retain every detail.
  9. A monster is a person who has stopped pretending.
  10. The world may be mean, but people don’t have to be, not if they refuse.

Colson Whitehead is an American novelist. He is the author of six novels, including The Underground Railroad and The Intuitionist, and two books of non-fiction. In 2002, he received a MacArthur Fellowship. The Underground Railroad was awarded the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Follow @colsonwhitehead on Twitter.

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by Amanda Patterson

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