In an October 1957 letter to a friend who had recommended he read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, Hunter S. Thompson wrote, “Although I don’t feel that it’s at all necessary to tell you how I feel about the principle of individuality, I know that I’m going to have to spend the rest of my life expressing it one way or another, and I think that I’ll accomplish more by expressing it on the keys of a typewriter than by letting it express itself in sudden outbursts of frustrated violence. . . .”
Thompson carved out his niche early. He was born in 1937, in Louisville, Kentucky, where his fiction and poetry earned him induction into the local Athenaeum Literary Association while he was still in high school. Thompson continued his literary pursuits in the United States Air Force, writing a weekly sports column for the base newspaper. After two years of service, Thompson endured a series of newspaper jobs—all of which ended badly—before he took to freelancing from Puerto Rico and South America for a variety of publications. The vocation quickly developed into a compulsion.
Thompson completed The Rum Diary, his only novel to date, before he turned twenty-five; bought by Ballantine Books, it finally was published—to glowing reviews—in 1998. In 1967, Thompson published his first nonfiction book, Hell’s Angels, a harsh and incisive firsthand investigation into the infamous motorcycle gang then making the heartland of America nervous.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which first appeared in Rolling Stone in November 1971, sealed Thompson’s reputation as an outlandish stylist successfully straddling the line between journalism and fiction writing. As the subtitle warns, the book tells of “a savage journey to the heart of the American Dream” in full-tilt gonzo style—Thompson’s hilarious first-person approach—and is accented by British illustrator Ralph Steadman’s appropriate drawings.
His next book, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, was a brutally perceptive take on the 1972 Nixon-McGovern presidential campaign. A self-confessed political junkie, Thompson chronicled the 1992 presidential campaign in Better than Sex (1994). Thompson’s other books include The Curse of Lono (1983), a bizarre South Seas tale, and three collections of Gonzo Papers: The Great Shark Hunt (1979), Generation of Swine (1988) and Songs of the Doomed (1990).
In 1997, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967, the first volume of Thompson’s correspondence with everyone from his mother to Lyndon Johnson, was published. The second volume of letters, Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976, has just been released.
Located in the mostly posh neighborhood of western Colorado’s Woody Creek Canyon, ten miles or so down-valley from Aspen, Owl Farm is a rustic ranch with an old-fashioned Wild West charm. Although Thompson’s beloved peacocks roam his property freely, it’s the flowers blooming around the ranch house that provide an unexpected high-country tranquility. Jimmy Carter, George McGovern and Keith Richards, among dozens of others, have shot clay pigeons and stationary targets on the property, which is a designated Rod and Gun Club and shares a border with the White River National Forest. Almost daily, Thompson leaves Owl Farm in either his Great Red Shark Convertible or Jeep Grand Cherokee to mingle at the nearby Woody Creek Tavern.
Visitors to Thompson’s house are greeted by a variety of sculptures, weapons, boxes of books and a bicycle before entering the nerve center of Owl Farm, Thompson’s obvious command post on the kitchen side of a peninsula counter that separates him from a lounge area dominated by an always-on Panasonic TV, always tuned to news or sports. An antique upright piano is piled high and deep enough with books to engulf any reader for a decade. Above the piano hangs a large Ralph Steadman portrait of “Belinda”—the Slut Goddess of Polo. On another wall covered with political buttons hangs a Che Guevara banner acquired on Thompson’s last tour of Cuba. On the counter sits an IBM Selectric typewriter—a Macintosh computer is set up in an office in the back wing of the house.
The most striking thing about Thompson’s house is that it isn’t the weirdness one notices first: it’s the words. They’re everywhere—handwritten in his elegant lettering, mostly in fading red Sharpie on the blizzard of bits of paper festooning every wall and surface: stuck to the sleek black leather refrigerator, taped to the giant TV, tacked up on the lampshades; inscribed by others on framed photos with lines like, “For Hunter, who saw not only fear and loathing, but hope and joy in ’72—George McGovern”; typed in IBM Selectric on reams of originals and copies in fat manila folders that slide in piles off every counter and table top; and noted in many hands and inks across the endless flurry of pages.
Thompson extricates his large frame from his ergonomically correct office chair facing the TV and lumbers over graciously to administer a hearty handshake or kiss to each caller according to gender, all with an easy effortlessness and unexpectedly old-world way that somehow underscores just who is in charge.
We talked with Thompson for twelve hours straight. This was nothing out of the ordinary for the host: Owl Farm operates like an eighteenth-century salon, where people from all walks of life congregate in the wee hours for free exchanges about everything from theoretical physics to local water rights, depending on who’s there. Walter Isaacson, managing editor of Time, was present during parts of this interview, as were a steady stream of friends. Given the very late hours Thompson keeps, it is fitting that the most prominently posted quote in the room, in Thompson’s hand, twists the last line of Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”: “Rage, rage against the coming of the light.”
For most of the half-day that we talked, Thompson sat at his command post, chain-smoking red Dunhills through a German-made gold-tipped cigarette filter and rocking back and forth in his swivel chair. Behind Thompson’s sui generis personality lurks a trenchant humorist with a sharp moral sensibility. His exaggerated style may defy easy categorization, but his career-long autopsy on the death of the American dream places him among the twentieth century’s most exciting writers. The comic savagery of his best work will continue to electrify readers for generations to come.
. . . I have stolen more quotes and thoughts and purely elegant little starbursts of writing from the Book of Revelation than from anything else in the English Language—and it is not because I am a biblical scholar, or because of any religious faith, but because I love the wild power of the language and the purity of the madness that governs it and makes it music.
HUNTER S. THOMPSON
Well, wanting to and having to are two different things. Originally I hadn’t thought about writing as a solution to my problems. But I had a good grounding in literature in high school. We’d cut school and go down to a café on Bardstown Road where we would drink beer and read and discuss Plato’s parable of the cave. We had a literary society in town, the Athenaeum; we met in coat and tie on Saturday nights. I hadn’t adjusted too well to society—I was in jail for the night of my high school graduation—but I learned at the age of fifteen that to get by you had to find the one thing you can do better than anybody else . . . at least this was so in my case. I figured that out early. It was writing. It was the rock in my sock. Easier than algebra. It was always work, but it was always worthwhile work. I was fascinated early by seeing my byline in print. It was a rush. Still is.
When I got to the Air Force, writing got me out of trouble. I was assigned to pilot training at Eglin Air Force Base near Pensacola in northwest Florida, but I was shifted to electronics . . . advanced, very intense, eight-month school with bright guys . . . I enjoyed it but I wanted to get back to pilot training. Besides, I’m afraid of electricity. So I went up there to the base education office one day and signed up for some classes at Florida State. I got along well with a guy named Ed and I asked him about literary possibilities. He asked me if I knew anything about sports, and I said that I had been the editor of my high-school paper. He said, “Well, we might be in luck.” It turned out that the sports editor of the base newspaper, a staff sergeant, had been arrested in Pensacola and put in jail for public drunkenness, pissing against the side of a building; it was the third time and they wouldn’t let him out.
So I went to the base library and found three books on journalism. I stayed there reading them until it closed. Basic journalism. I learned about headlines, leads: who, when, what, where, that sort of thing. I barely slept that night. This was my ticket to ride, my ticket to get out of that damn place. So I started as an editor. Boy, what a joy. I wrote long Grantland Rice-type stories. The sports editor of my hometown Louisville Courier Journal always had a column, left-hand side of the page. So I started a column.
By the second week I had the whole thing down. I could work at night. I wore civilian clothes, worked off base, had no hours, but I worked constantly. I wrote not only for the base paper, The Command Courier, but also the local paper, The Playground News. I’d put things in the local paper that I couldn’t put in the base paper. Really inflammatory shit. I wrote for a professional wrestling newsletter. The Air Force got very angry about it. I was constantly doing things that violated regulations. I wrote a critical column about how Arthur Godfrey, who’d been invited to the base to be the master of ceremonies at a firepower demonstration, had been busted for shooting animals from the air in Alaska. The base commander told me: “Goddamn it, son, why did you have to write about Arthur Godfrey that way?”
When I left the Air Force I knew I could get by as a journalist. So I went to apply for a job at Sports Illustrated. I had my clippings, my bylines, and I thought that was magic . . . my passport. The personnel director just laughed at me. I said, “Wait a minute. I’ve been sports editor for two papers.” He told me that their writers were judged not by the work they’d done, but where they’d done it. He said, “Our writers are all Pulitzer Prize winners from The New York Times. This is a helluva place for you to start. Go out into the boondocks and improve yourself.”
I was shocked. After all, I’d broken the Bart Starr story.
What was that?
At Eglin Air Force Base we always had these great football teams. The Eagles. Championship teams. We could beat up on the University of Virginia. Our bird-colonel Sparks wasn’t just any yo-yo coach. We recruited. We had these great players serving their military time in ROTC. We had Zeke Bratkowski, the Green Bay quarterback. We had Max McGee of the Packers. Violent, wild, wonderful drunk. At the start of the season McGee went AWOL, appeared at the Green Bay camp and he never came back. I was somehow blamed for his leaving. The sun fell out of the firmament. Then the word came that we were getting Bart Starr, the All-American from Alabama. The Eagles were going to roll! But then the staff sergeant across the street came in and said, “I’ve got a terrible story for you. Bart Starr’s not coming.” I managed to break into an office and get out his files. I printed the order that showed he was being discharged medically. Very serious leak.
The Bart Starr story was not enough to impress Sports Illustrated?
The personnel guy there said, “Well, we do have this trainee program.” So I became a kind of copy boy.
You eventually ended up in San Francisco. With the publication in 1967 of Hell’s Angels, your life must have taken an upward spin.
All of a sudden I had a book out. At the time I was twenty-nine years old and I couldn’t even get a job driving a cab in San Francisco, much less writing. Sure, I had written important articles for The Nation and The Observer, but only a few good journalists really knew my byline. The book enabled me to buy a brand new BSA 650 Lightning, the fastest motorcycle ever tested by Hot Rod magazine. It validated everything I had been working toward. If Hell’s Angels hadn’t happened I never would have been able to write Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or anything else. To be able to earn a living as a freelance writer in this country is damned hard; there are very few people who can do that. Hell’s Angels all of a sudden proved to me that, Holy Jesus, maybe I can do this. I knew I was a good journalist. I knew I was a good writer, but I felt like I got through a door just as it was closing.
With the swell of creative energy flowing throughout the San Francisco scene at the time, did you interact with or were you influenced by any other writers?
Ken Kesey for one. His novels One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion had quite an impact on me. I looked up to him hugely. One day I went down to the television station to do a roundtable show with other writers, like Kay Boyle, and Kesey was there. Afterwards we went across the street to a local tavern and had several beers together. I told him about the Angels, who I planned to meet later that day, and I said, “Well, why don’t you come along?” He said, “Whoa, I’d like to meet these guys.” Then I got second thoughts, because it’s never a good idea to take strangers along to meet the Angels. But I figured that this was Ken Kesey, so I’d try. By the end of the night Kesey had invited them all down to La Honda, his woodsy retreat outside of San Francisco. It was a time of extreme turbulence—riots in Berkeley. He was always under assault by the police—day in and day out, so La Honda was like a war zone. But he had a lot of the literary, intellectual crowd down there, Stanford people also, visiting editors, and Hell’s Angels. Kesey’s place was a real cultural vortex.
|William T. Vollmann|
Vollmann in 2006
|Born||William Tanner Vollmann|
(1959-07-28) July 28, 1959 (age 58)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Novelist, journalist, short storywriter, essayist|
|Alma mater||Deep Springs College, Cornell University (BA in Comparative Literature)|
|Genre||Literary fiction, historical fiction|
|Subject||War, violence, science, human compassion|
William Tanner Vollmann (born July 28, 1959) is an American novelist, journalist, war correspondent, short story writer, and essayist. He won the 2005 National Book Award for Fiction for the novel Europe Central. He lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and daughter.
William Vollmann was born in Los Angeles and lived there for five years. He attended public high school in Bloomington, Indiana, and has also lived in New Hampshire, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. His father was Thomas E. Vollmann, a business professor at Indiana University. When he was nine years old, Vollmann's six-year-old sister drowned in a pond while under his supervision, and he felt responsible for her death. According to him, this loss has influenced much of his work.
Vollmann studied at Deep Springs College, and completed a B.A., summa cum laude, in comparative literature at Cornell University, where he resided at the Telluride House.
After graduation, Vollmann went on to the University of California, Berkeley, on a fellowship for a doctoral program in comparative literature. He dropped out after one year.
Vollmann lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife, who is a radiation oncologist, and their daughter.
Vollmann worked odd jobs, including a post as a secretary at an insurance company, and saved up enough money to go to Afghanistan in 1982. During this trip, he sought to gather information and images that could determine the most deserving candidates for American aid. He eventually foisted himself upon a group of mujahideen heading for the front lines. He saw battle with the soldiers, who were engaged in warfare with the Soviet Union at the time, before he came down with dysentery and had to be dragged through the Hindu Kush mountains. His experiences on this trip inspired his first non-fiction book, An Afghanistan Picture Show, or, How I Saved the World, which was not published until 1992.
Upon his return to the USA, Vollmann started work as a computer programmer, even though he had virtually no experience with computers. According to a New York Times Magazine profile by the novelist Madison Smartt Bell, for a year Vollmann wrote much of his first novel, You Bright and Risen Angels, after hours on office computers, subsisting on candy bars from vending machines and hiding from the janitorial staff.
In addition to full-length books, Vollmann has written articles and had stories published in Harper's, Playboy, Conjunctions, Spin Magazine, Esquire, The New Yorker, Gear, and Granta. He has also contributed to The New York Times Book Review. Vollmann identifies as a "hack journalist"; he often does travel writing and reportage while doing research for his larger fiction or non-fiction projects.
In November 2003 (after many delays), his book Rising Up and Rising Down was published. It is a 3,300-page, heavily illustrated, seven-volume treatise on violence. It was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A single-volume condensed version was published at the end of the following year by Ecco Press. Vollmann justified the abridgment, saying, "I did it for the money."Rising Up and Rising Down represents more than 20 years of work in which he tries to establish a moral calculus to consider the causes, effects, and ethics of violence. Vollmann based it on his reporting from places of warfare, including Cambodia, Somalia, and Iraq.
Vollmann's other works often deal with the settlement of North America (as in Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes, a cycle of seven novels); or stories of people (often prostitutes) on the margins of war, poverty, and hope. His novel Europe Central (2005) follows the trajectories of a wide range of characters (including the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich) caught up in the fighting between Germany and the Soviet Union. It won the 2005 National Book Award for Fiction.
In 2008, Vollmann was awarded a five-year fellowship/grant from the Strauss Living Award, which provides $50,000 a year, tax free. In 2009, Vollmann published Imperial, a nonfiction account of life in Imperial County, California, on the border of Mexico.
In 2010, Vollmann published a critical study of Japanese Noh theater entitled Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement, and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater.
Vollman began cross dressing in 2008 and has developed a female alter ego persona named Dolores which is documented in The Book of Dolores. "'Dolores is a relatively young woman trapped in this fat, aging male body,' Mr. Vollmann said. 'I’ve bought her a bunch of clothes, but she’s not grateful. She would like to get rid of me if she could.'”
As of 2007, Vollmann was writing ghost and supernatural stories for a collection to be published by Viking ("Widow’s Weeds" was published in AGNI #66 in 2007). He was also working on the fourth and fifth volumes of the Seven Dreams series. In interviews, he has mentioned a book about abortion called The Shame of Our Youth, as well as a study on rape cases in court.
Vollmann's papers were acquired by the Rare Books & Manuscripts Library of Ohio State University.
In his personal life, Vollmann – who eschews not only the fame of authorship but also cellphones, credit cards, and other modern age touchstones – has sometimes been characterized as a misanthrope, even a Luddite. In a 2013 Harper's essay, "Life as a Terrorist", Vollmann revealed how the perception of "anti-progress, anti-industrialist themes" in his early writings had changed his life. Utilizing official files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the essay details Vollmann's investigation by the FBI as a suspect in the mid-1990s Unabomber case. Though he was cleared, Vollmann describes a lifetime of unabating negative repercussions from his permanent classified record.
Full-length critical essays about Vollmann's work have been published in Review of Contemporary Fiction, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, BookForum,Open Letters Monthly, and Science Fiction Studies. In 2010, the German magazine 032c dedicated 40 pages of its 19th issue to Vollmann, and featured a rare interview with the author in addition to reprinted texts.
Michael Hemmingson co-edited, with Larry McCaffery, Expelled from Eden: A WTV Reader (NY: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004) and published William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co) in 2009.
William T. Vollmann: A Critical Companion, edited by Christopher K. Coffman and Daniel Lukes, and including contributions from Larry McCaffery, Jonathan Franzen, Michael Hemmingson, James Franco, Carla Bolte, and others, was published by the University of Delaware in October, 2014.
Novels and collections
Seven Dreams series
Main article: Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes
The "Prostitution Trilogy"
- An Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World (1992)
- The Atlas (1996)
- Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means (2003)
- Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (2006) (Part of the "Great Discoveries" series)
- Poor People (2007)
- Riding Toward Everywhere (2008)
- Imperial (2009)
- Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater (2010)
- Into the Forbidden Zone: A Trip Through Hell and High Water in Post-Earthquake Japan (2011) (eBook)
- The Book of Dolores (2013)
- No Immediate Danger: Volume One of Carbon Ideologies (Forthcoming, 10 Apr 2018)
Unpublished and rare works
- The Song of Heaven: Grammar and Rhetoric in Literature and Political Action (1981)
- Welcome to the Memoirs (autobiography, later reworked as An Afghanistan Picture Show) (1983)
- The Convict Bird: A Children’s Poem (1988) (bound with steel plates)
- The Happy Girls (book)|The Happy Girls (1990) (hand-painted and bound with metal plates, later included in 13 Stories and 13 Epitaphs)
- Wordcraft: Hints and Notes (circa 1990) (writer's handbook)
- The Grave of Lost Stories (1993) (bound in steel and marble box, originally included in 13 Stories and 13 Epitaphs)
- Burning Songs (circa 2000) (poems)
- The Book of Candles (1995-2008) (ten poems, in wooden box)
- ^Biblioklept (2011-09-24). "William T. Vollmann's Favorite "Contemporary" Books". biblioklept. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- ^"National Book Awards – 2005". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
(With acceptance speech by Vollmann, introduction by Andre Dubus III, essay by Tom LeClair from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog, and other material.)
- ^Yudt, Dennis (November 8, 2010). "William T. Vollmann: Darkness and Light". Midtown Monthly. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
- ^ abcdBell, Madison Smartt (Fall 2000). "William T. Vollmann, The Art of Fiction No. 163". The Paris Review, no. 156. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- ^Interview: "William T. Vollman", KCRW, 11 April 2004
- ^Bush, Ben (2006-03-30). "An Interview With Creative Nonfiction Writer William T. Vollmann". Poets & Writers. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- ^ abBraverman, Kate (2005). "An Interview with William T. Vollmann". Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- ^032c.com. "WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN: Conflict, Compassion and the Process of Understanding". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- ^Bell, Madison Smartt (1994-02-06). "WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
- ^Wood, Michael (15 December 2005). "Parables of a Violent World". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
- ^Ross, Steven. "A MODEST IMPERIALIST: William T. Vollmann". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- ^"Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement, and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater". Amazon.com. c. 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
- ^Vollmann, William T. (2013-10-29). The Book of Dolores (1St ed.). powerHouse Books. ISBN 9781576876572.
- ^Heyman, Stephen (2013-11-13). "William T. Vollmann: The Self Images of a Cross-Dresser". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- ^"AGNI 66 Table of Contents (2007)". AGNI Online. Boston University. c. 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
- ^William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2009
- ^"William T. Vollmann papers"Archived 2006-09-01 at the Wayback Machine., Rare Books & Manuscripts Library, Ohio State University
- ^Lai, Jennifer (August 2013). "How the FBI's Poor Reading Skills Led It to Suspect an Acclaimed Author Was the Unabomber". Slate. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
- ^Vollmann, William T. (September 2013). "Life as a Terrorist: Undercovering My FBI File". Harper's. Harper's Foundation. 327 (1960): 39–47. Retrieved 6 December 2013. (subscription required)
- ^"William T. Vollmann Against the Tyrannical World", 032c, issue 19 (Summer 2010).
- ^Vollmann, William T. (2012-10-15). "The Forgetful Ghost". Vice. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
- ^Cohen, Joshua (2013-10-15). "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? William T. Vollmann Dresses In Drag, Finds His Feminist Side". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
- ^Holbrook, Stett (2016-09-07). "Feature: Heading toward nowhere". Pacific Sun. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
- ^Hemmingson, Michael A., "William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews" (McFarland, 2009), p. 63
- ^William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews - Michael A. Hemmingson - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- ^Interviewed by Madison Smartt Bell. "The Art of Fiction No. 163, William T. Vollmann". Paris Review. Retrieved 2012-08-01. This was submitted to Steven Moore at Dalkey Archive Press circa 1990; Moore liked it, but publisher John O'Brien turned it down.
- ^Interview by Terri Saul Tags: William T. Vollmann. "A Day at William T. Vollmann's Studio". Quarterly Conversation. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- William T. Vollmann Collection, 1980-2000 The Ohio State University Libraries Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection
- William T. Vollmann Collection, 2003-2004 The Ohio State University Libraries Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection
- William T. Vollmann Collection, 2004-2005 The Ohio State University Libraries Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection
- William T. Vollmann Collection, 2001-2007 The Ohio State University Libraries Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection
- William T. Vollmann Collection, 2008-2010 The Ohio State University Libraries Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection
- Profile of Vollmann in the New York Review of Books, December 2005
- TimeOut New York interview
- Profile at The Whiting Foundation
- "Seeing Eye to Eye", Vollmann on ethics in photography, in Bookforum, Feb/Mar
- Critical essay on Vollmann at Open Letters
- William Vollmann’s Burqa by Guy Reynolds, on Vollmann's "literary globalism."
- Madison Smartt Bell (Fall 2000). "William T. Vollmann, The Art of Fiction No. 163". The Paris Review.
- In Conversation: A Modern Imperialist: William T. Vollmann, The Brooklyn Rail
- You Are Now Entering the Demented Kingdom of William T. Vollmann, The New Republic, July 24, 2014.
- "Fathers and Crows". Bookworm (Interview). Interview with Michael Silverblatt. KCRW. November 1992.
- "The Royal Family". Bookworm (Interview). Interview with Michael Silverblatt. KCRW. January 2001.
- "Rising Up and Rising Down". Bookworm (Interview). Interview with Michael Silverblatt. KCRW. November 2004.
- "Riding toward Everywhere". Bookworm (Interview). Interview with Michael Silverblatt. KCRW. March 2008.
- "Last Stories and Other Stories (Part I)". Bookworm (Interview). Interview with Michael Silverblatt. KCRW. August 2014.
- "Last Stories and Other Stories (Part II)". Bookworm (Interview). Interview with Michael Silverblatt. KCRW. August 2014.
- Bookslut, an interview with William T. Vollmann, November 2005.