Author Philip Roth began his writing career in 1959 with the publication of Goodbye, Columbus, a collection of stories about Jewish communities in America following World War II, which won the National Book Award for fiction.
Since then, Roth has written nearly 30 novels, including American Pastoral, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997. Most recently, he published Exit Ghost, the final novel depicting the story of Nathan Zuckerman, Roth's so-called alter ego. In 2001, the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded Roth its prestigious Gold Medal for Fiction.
Roth turned 75 in March, and the National Book Foundation is commemorating his birthday with a special event and an online exhibit of his literary career. We listen back to highlights of our conversations with Roth.
This broadcast originally aired on September 27, 2005.
Philip Roth's newest novel, Exit Ghost, is his ninth and final Nathan Zuckerman book.
The series began in 1979 with The Ghost Writer; a compendium, Zuckerman Bound, is now available.
Roth won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for American Pastoral; his 28 novels have won him numerous other awards, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Fiction.
The real-life novelist Philip Roth has written so often, and in so many books, about the fictional novelist Nathan Zuckerman, that the equation is irresistible: Zuckerman equals Roth.
Roth has spent a lifetime warning people off the easy assumption that fiction is memoir, with the names changed to protect the author and publisher from lawsuits.
And his latest novel, Exit Ghost, is all about the gap between the writer's life experience and his art. It involves the characters who figured in Roth's 1979 novel, Ghost Writer.
When Roth began writing about Nathan Zuckerman, the protagonist was 23 years old. The character is now 71. Roth, who is 74, tells Robert Siegel Exit Ghost is the last of the Zuckerman novels.