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Richard Powers: Each Try Launches Another

by Melody Joy Kramer
Nov 20, 2006

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Richard Powers is the author of nine novels. His latest, The Echo Maker, won the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction. He teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

How He Writes: "I like to start early, as fresh from sleep as possible. If the going is slow at first, I will tinker with yesterday's sentences until I feel myself back in the flow. I'll break for lunch and then hit my peak hours in the mid-afternoon. Invention and refinement seem to play off each other, all day long. In the early evening, when I start to fade, I'll shift over to reading, which takes me into the night and primes the pump for the next day."

Writer's Block Remedies: "In 25 years of writing novels, I've never had anything that felt like writer's block. I write the way you might arrange flowers. Not every try works, but each one launches another. Every constraint, even dullness, frees up a new design."

A Favorite Sentence: "In some empty hall, my brother is still singing."

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'Echo Maker' Wins National Book Award for Fiction

Nov 16, 2006 (Morning Edition)

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