John Hawkes (1982) | Writer's Workshop


Writer's Workshop is a time capsule of Who's Who in literature in the 1980's! American author George Plimpton introduces fellow author John Hawkes, as "an ordinary life producing extraordinary fiction." The writing is the vehicle for the substance of the language of everything.

Throughout this interview, Hawkes reiterates his belief that "the imperfect really conveys the essence of perfection more than a whole object."  He also describes his unusual writing schedule whereby every third year, he and his family goes away and he writes. John Hawkes observed that he only writes one novel every three years and started writing when he suffered a bout of debilitating athlete’s foot.  

In this interview, Hawkes also reveals his very positive views on teaching creative writing and evaluates what he sees as current trends in the world of fiction.  

NOTE: This program contains adult themes.  

Side Notes:

  • August 17, 1925 – May 15, 1998
  • John Clendennin Talbot Burne Hawkes, was a postmodern American novelist.
  • The Lime Twig published January 17, 1961.
  • Hawkes took inspiration from Vladimir Nabokov and his story Signs and Symbols was on the reading list for Hawkes' writing students at Brown University.
  • 1962 - American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award
  • 1965 - National Book Award nomination for Second Skin
  • 1973 - Prix du Meilleuer Livre etranger for The Blood Oranges
  • 1986 - Prix Medicis Etranger for Adventures in the Alaskan Skin Trade
  • 1990 - Lannan Literary Award

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.