The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Talking Writing and Reading with Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham. Photo by Richard Phibbs

Now in its 11th year, the National Book Festival has been attracting such large crowds that the Library of Congress extended it from one day to two. More than 100 authors and thousands of readers of all ages  came together on the National Mall the last weekend in September in celebration of books. Maybe because reading is such a personal, solitary experience, it is particularly gratifying to see and hear the authors whose work we love. But according to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, Michael Cunningham (who read in the NEA-sponsored Poetry and Prose Pavilion at the festival), the same dynamic holds true for authors. Writing is a personal and solitary experience as well, so while book festivals give readers a chance to hear their favorite authors, they also allow authors to meet their readers. I spoke with Michael Cunningham at the National Book Festival where we talked about the relationships between readers and writers and between readers and their books. [5:05]




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