Can an author survive in Idaho? Anthony Doerr on life in a remote state and being one of the world's up and coming writers.

O. Henry Prize, Best American Short Story author, and on Granta’s list of 21 Best Young American novelists — is there anything Boise’s Anthony Doerr cannot successfully write?

Doerr, a 38-year-old Ohio native and former Idaho State Writer in Residence, will read from his work at 8 Thursday in Moscow. Before his visit he talked to Inland 360 about living in Idaho, what he’s reading now and his next book.

Q: How long have you lived in Boise?

A: “Thirteen years. The love of my life grew up here. We met in college and she wanted to come back and was hired by Hewlett-Packard.”

Q: Is Idaho a good place to be a writer?

A: “It’s a terrific place to be a parent and to be a fisherperson and to be a skier. There’s lots of things to keep me from my writing. I’m not the kind of writer who needs cocktail parties.”

Q: Which of your books do people most want to talk to you about?

A: “That depends on context. If it’s a literary crowd it’s my short stories, ‘The Shell Collector’ or ‘Memory Wall.’ ”

“If it’s a lot of moms or general interest readers it’s my memoir about my family living abroad, ‘Four Seasons in Rome (On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World).’ ”

Q: Were you surprised when you made Granta’s list of 21 Best Young American novelists? Or do you pay attention to that stuff?

A: “Sure, I pay attention. I think it’s great. I think I may have been sad if they hadn’t included my story.

“There’s a certain New York-centric focus in the writing world so it’s always nice to know you’re still reaching readers internationally when you’re living in Idaho. Any honor that helps your work reach readers is good. I’m learning you can’t ignore capitalism entirely.”

Q: What are you currently reading?

A: “A book about the history of American trees. I write a science column for the Boston Globe and I read a lot of fairly esoteric and difficult books. I love it. ‘American Canopy’ is about the role that trees and wood had in the growth of U.S. history. It’s one of those books with 500 pages of tiny print.”

Q: What are you working on now?

A: “Off and on for seven years I’ve been writing a novel set during World War II in France about the use of radio as both a tool of propaganda and tool in resistant occupied countries. It’s about the power of radios and what a miracle it was to hear the voice of a stranger in your home.”

WHO: Author Anthony Doerr WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday WHERE: BookPeople of Moscow, 521 S. Main St. ADMISSION: Free

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment