How Maya Jasanoff Writes

Finalists at Mount Vernon

2011 George Washington Book Prize finalists: Ben Irvin, Maya Jasanoff (winner), Ben Irvin

I’m still mad at Maya Jasanoff for beating me out for the 2012 George Washington Book Prize. 🙂  (I had that $50,000 targeted for a writing shed in my back yard!)

As I deal with my ongoing bitterness, check-out this interview with the prolific Harvard historian:

Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?

Michelle Obama or, though I’d probably lose my appetite, VS Naipaul.

What book changed your life?

Orientalism by Edward Said. I have many disagreements with the book, but its meditation on the intersection of politics and culture hugely influenced my thinking.

When did you first know that you were going to be a writer? I

remember getting turned on to the power of storytelling by Charles Dickens, when my mother read Nicholas Nickleby to me as a child.

Do you have a writing routine?

Edit what I wrote the day before, feel a sense of progress, start a few new paragraphs, feel exhilarated, fine-tune what I wrote in the morning, feel despair, give up for a few hours, force myself back, wrestle with a difficult passage, feel mildly satisfied, turn off computer, rethink everything I wrote that day, realise it’s terrible, go to bed, start again.

Read the entire interview here.

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