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This edition: Alice McDermott

Episode Details

Original tape date: January 13, 2014.

First aired: January 17, 2014.

This episode of “Irish Writers in America,” a new 13 part series from CUNY TV (City University of New York television station), features a long-form interview with Alice McDermott, who won the National Book Award for her novel, Charming Billy, and whose recent novel, Someone, has received rave reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere.

Alice McDermott talks about the challenge of writing the classic Irish figure of the lovable drunk, her habit of starting a second novel before finishing the current one, and the need to treat writing as a job regardless of its being commonly perceived as a hobby. She explains how 9/11 affected her writing and the overall pursuit of grace, despite tragedy, in her work. She tells the story of how she got her first book deal, how she became known as a chronicler of Irish-American life, and how she has managed to balance her family and writing lives.

Interviewed at her beautiful home in Bethesda, Maryland, McDermott speaks candidly about what continues to drive her to write.

Guest List

Web Extras

Alice McDermott on the Irish

Alice McDermott talks about writing Irish characters and whether to keep doing it.

Alice McDermott on Influences

Alice McDermott talks about the writers who originally inspired her to want to write.

Alice McDermott Family History

Alice McDermott talks about her family history.

Alice McDermott - Storytelling

Alice McDermott talks about the power of storytelling within her novel, Charming Billy.

Alice McDermott on Plot

Alice McDermott talks about what kind of writer she is, and the place of plot in her work.

Alice McDermott on "Reward"

Alice McDermott talks about writing as its own reward.