Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pete Hamill

Pete Hamill is a great novelist, and also the quintessential journalist. He is also the author of Downtown: My Manhattan, a nonfiction book about the history, architecture and personality of lower Manhattan that I've used as an eye-opening guidebook. On the publication of his latest novel, Tabloid City, Hamill talks about the relationship of fiction to journalism, and his own experiences as a journalist taking up a different craft. As he points out, he is not alone:

"Novels are works of the imagination. The novelist is always asking one question that goes beyond journalistic basics: what if? But many novelists use some form of reporting. Charles Dickens walked the dark streets of night-time London, looking at places and people, letting them seep into his imagination, to marinate into fiction, after struggling with What if? Hemingway had been a reporter. Mailer became one, after starting as a novelist. Long before them, Stephen Crane worked for those Park Row newspapers that established the tabloid style (although not the shape of the tabloid newspaper) before going on to Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and The Red Badge of Courage. There are many, many others…"

Read the whole interview on BookReporter.com.

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