Marilynne Robinson


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“People ask about my process, you know, and I have to give them the disheartening information that I don’t really have one. I just try to concentrate.”

Robinson’s ability to concentrate has allowed her to craft beautiful novels and arresting, erudite nonfiction. In this On the Fly interview, Robinson reveals the word she always cuts, where she likes to write, and who may be a writer. On the last point, she says, “I never assume that anyone is not one.”

Robinson was a respected and beloved teacher in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for 25 years, retiring in 2016. Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her second novel, Gilead, garnered the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction for Home and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Lila. She is also an acclaimed nonfiction writer with five books to her credit: Mother Country, The Death of Adam, Absence of Mind, When I Was a Child I Read Books, and The Givenness of Things.

She has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and has been awarded the National Humanities Medal (2012), the Park Kyong-ni Prize (2013), and the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction (2016).