Writers on Writing
Edith Pearlman on Inspiration and Accolades

Edith Pearlman, who has just been nominated for a National Book Award, appeared at the Center for Fiction last spring. before the event, we caught up with Pearlman for a mini interview:


You've been writing and publishing stories—hundreds of them!—for a long time. What keeps it fresh for you? What keeps you alive as an artist?


Edith Pearlman: I love short stories—reading them, thinking about them, talking about them. Writing them is another part of that pleasure. I think the pleasure doesn’t fade because while I’m writing a story I live in it. It’s a journey on which I meet interesting people—and pay no travel expenses.

DR: Was there ever a period in your adult life when you weren't writing?


EP: I didn’t write other than letters in my twenties, because I had to make my living.  I was a computer programmer, which, perhaps surprisingly, has a lot in common with writing.

DR: You've won many accolades over the years but the front page New York Times Review was a very bright spotlight. How has it affected you? Does it make it harder to see without being seen?

EP: Generous of you to think the Times Review made me famous.  I am still nicely invisible—I see without being seen, as you so deftly put it.  Of course the Times Review (and others like it) made me proud and happy.  But I've had always had a devoted though small following—now it’s a little bigger. And I get more invitations to speak and read, which satisfies the ham in me.


interviewed by Dawn Raffel



Edith Pearlman and Alice Mattison read and spoke at the Center for Fiction: Watch video




  Edith Pearlman