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Literature and the Rise of the Interview$
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Rebecca Roach

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198825418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198825418.001.0001

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Uncreative Writing

Uncreative Writing

Interviews, Literature, and the Work of Contemporary Authorship

(p.198) 6 Uncreative Writing
Literature and the Rise of the Interview

Rebecca Roach

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates that, thanks to the heavy reliance of publishers’ marketing departments on author interviews as a means of promotion, today interviews are increasingly conceived through their opposition to creative writing. Drawing on the examples of Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, and J. M. Coetzee, the chapter demonstrates that interviews have become the quintessential example of uncreative, instrumental, authorial labour. However, in a time in which literature is frequently conceived in opposition to information, interviews also become a productive site for authors to reflect on the nature of literary representation and contemporary creative work. In their opposition to creative writing, interviews can also become an example of ‘uncreative writing’. As information surplus and networked digital computing make traditional, primarily print-based, norms of authorship, creativity, and inscription less tenable, for some of the authors discussed here the interview offers a generative site for exploring new modes of creative expression fit for the twenty-first century.

Keywords:   Philip Roth, J. M. Coetzee, Toni Morrison, digital, conversation, uncreative writing, promotion, labour, author interview

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