Episode 482 – John Crowley

Virtual Memories Show 482:
John Crowley

“One thing age and experience bring you is an accumulation of ability to create minds at work. It’s the hardest thing to do in writing.”

Legendary author John Crowley rejoins the show to celebrate his new novel, Flint And Mirror (Tor Books), as well as his just-before-the-pandemic collections, And Go Like This and Reading Backwards. We get into the career-long gestation of this novel, the role of Hugh O’Neill in the English-Irish wars, the alchemy of melding history and the fantastic, the impact of John’s mild cognitive impairment (MCI) diagnosis, and why writing really is the ability to create minds at work. We also get into the decline of SFF conventions, the joy of returning to Borges’ essays, whether imaginative fiction writers feel inadequate in the face of the QAnon phenomenon, what he learned from reading Nabokov, the smaller pieces he’s been writing during the pandemic that may become “A Conway Miscellany”, and more. Give it a listen! And go read Flint and Mirror (plus And Go Like This and Reading Backwards)!

And go listen to our 2013 and 2017 conversations!

“I really thought KA would be my last novel, but I guess I just forgot.”

“Moments where characters sit still for a minute, and a story arises inside of them, whether spoken out or never spoken: it’s creating human beings.”

“What I learned from Nabokov was how to be snarky and snotty, and turn fancy phrases, and not allowing yourself to censor yourself in the things you know you can bring off and will be valuable when done.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

John Crowley published his first novel The Deep in 1975, and his thirteenth novel, Flint and Mirror, in 2022. In 1992 he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 2006 he was awarded the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. He has been nominated for the American Book Award and is the recipient of an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant. He taught creative writing at Yale University from 1993 until his retirement in 2018.

Follow John on Facebook.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded remotely via Zencastr. I used a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of John by me. It’s on my instagram.

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