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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Literary Retirement Trend

Posted by on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Yesterday, the New York Times said that Alice Munro is retiring:

Accepting a literary prize in Toronto last month, Alice Munro, the acclaimed short-story writer — “our Chekhov,” as Cynthia Ozick has called her — winner of the Man Booker International Prize and just about every important North American literary award for which she is eligible, told a newspaper interviewer, “I’m probably not going to write anymore.”

The article goes on to say that Munro is following the example of writers Margaret Drabble and Philip Roth, who retired four years ago and last year, respectively. She even cites Roth as an inspiration, saying he “seems so happy now.” The romantic in me, the one who still gets a little flutter in his heart every time he walks into a new bookstore, is a little disappointed in this trend: Aren't writers, in the end, supposed to be found slumped over their desks, inky quill in hand? But it's probably a practical decision. People lose their sharpness as they age—Munro is 82, Roth is 80—and all a writer really has, after all, is her consciousness. Maybe my resistance to these retirements is the fact that I just want more books out of these people.


Comments (5) RSS

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Maybe you should try your hand at writing in the style of these people Paul. Pining for corpses to churn out work just for your entertainment is ghoulish.
Posted by No Excuses on July 2, 2013 at 8:37 AM · Report this
I agree with you in principle, "slumped over their desks," indeed. However, there are a multitude of authors who SHOULD retire, so maybe this will lead the way to get rid of some of the dead weight.
Posted by Bugnroolet on July 2, 2013 at 9:02 AM · Report this
Alice Munro can do whatever she wants. I hope she takes up hard drugs and bellydancing.
Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on July 2, 2013 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Although never as prolific or talented as those other retirees, I'm semi-retired writer and editor and couldn't be happier -- hey, maybe Munro and Roth will turn up in the Slog comments!
Posted by judybrowni on July 2, 2013 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Alice Munro is an 82 year-old cancer survivor who's contributed more to this world than most people could over 10 lifetimes. She's said she no longer wants to spend the amount of time alone that's required of most writers to do their work. I'm thankful for everything she's written and wish her a happy retirement.
Posted by Amanda on July 10, 2013 at 1:28 AM · Report this

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