George Plimpton (1982) | Writer's Workshop


A veritable literary snapshot in time! Join us at the Writer's Workshop where the student forum meets with legendary George Plimpton. In starting out, Plimpton observes “An awful lot of people who want to become writers don't really write very much. They think a lot about writing, but they don't really sit down and practice the craft." Speaking as an editor, his favorite role, Plimpton explains his attitude toward unpublished writers and offers them practical encouragement. He speaks about participatory journalism and writing about things that most people don’t know about and the curiosity that people have learning about these unexplored worlds. Plimpton observed that he is the jack of all trades and master of none. Plimpton said that he likes to think that he would have succeeded at other types of writing but notes that he doesn’t think that there would have been the public interest. When he tried hockey and football, he kept a notebook with him to remind himself that he was a reporter. While the confrontational sports were not that much fun, the characters that he met were the compensation. Later that night, in a big ledger, he would expand upon the thoughts that he’d written down in his notebooks. He talks with James Dickey about the development of style and parody and discussion of depression that can often plague writers. 

Side Notes

  • March 18, 1927 - September 25, 2003
  • He wrote a famously successful April Fool's Day joke for Sports Illustrated in 1985 about a bizarre fictional pitcher named Siddhartha "Sidd" Fitch for the New York Mets. The prank was such a success he wrote an entire book about Fitch, published January 25, 1987.

The Writer's Workshop features 15 major talents in contemporary literature who met in a one-on-one forum with well-known author William Price Fox and University of South Carolina creative writing students. Each writer discussed his or her personal writing methods, furnishing insights into the highly individualized process of literary creation. Other authors include George Plimpton, James Dickey, James McPherson, John Gardener, John Hawkes, John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, Nora Ephron, Pauline Kael, Reynolds Price, Stephen Spender, Susan Sontag, Tom Wolf, William Price Fox, and William Styron.