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A dry period (1962 – 1967)


Letting Go
Philip Roth Writer
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In Rome I was working on my second book called: Letting Go, a novel, and I worked on it there and when I came back from Rome, I went to teach at the Iowa Writers Workshop in Iowa City, Iowa, and I wrote Letting Go there. Letting Go was… Goodbye Columbus were the efforts of a young man, they... the stories were spontaneous responses to my background. I had no literary theory, I had no literary agenda, I was just spontaneously writing, and that's what... that's what came out. With Letting Go I became more literary in my intention and wanted to write a... a big novel and with lots of people in it and various places in it and lots of dialogue and language and color. And when I wrote it I began to discover the joys of writing a novel rather than a short story, which are really the joys of amplification and you can just keep going and put things in and work on a bigger scale.

Born in March 1933, American writer Philip Roth's fame rests on the frank explorations of Jewish-American life he portrays in his novels. There is a strong autobiographical element in much of what he writes, alongside social commentary and political satire. Despite often polarising critics with his frequently explicit accounts of his male protagonists' sexual doings, Roth has received a great many prestigious literary awards which include a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997, and the 4th Man Booker International Prize in 2011.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Rome, Iowa Writer's Workshop, Letting Go

Duration: 1 minute, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013