Anthony Doerr: The World Is Always Erasing Us

August 25, 2010

Memory Wall is “crazy good,” says the Oregonian. It’s “a small classic of contemporary literature,” according to the National Post. Adds the New York Times Book Review, “Doerr writes about the big questions, the imponderables, the major metaphysical dreads, and he does it fearlessly.”

The collection’s title piece—call it a long story or call it a short novella; at 85 pages, it safely straddles the line—won the National Magazine Award for Fiction. But how did Alzeheimer’s and black market fossil trading wind up in the same piece? At ReadRollShow studios during a break from the Tin House Writers Workshop, Anthony Doerr described “the long, looping way” that the elements came together.

More Anthony Doerr
Official web site
Press archives
The Writers’ Block interview (audio)
Writers on Process interview
Online interview (Washington Post)
On Memory Wall (Boise Weekly)
Getting Rich on Fungus (NY Times Op-Ed)
Review of Memory Wall (New York Times)
Review of Memory Wall (Edmonton Journal)
Review of Memory Wall (Oregonian)
Anthony Doerr, Am I Still Here (video)
Anthony Doerr, Butterflies (video)
Cloudy Is the Stuff of Stones (essay, Orion Magazine)
Phantoms and Prey (essay, OnEarth)

Memory Wall

Anthony Doerr is the author of four books, The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome, and, most recently, Memory Wall.

Doerr’s short fiction has won three O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and two Ohioana Book Awards. His books have been a New York Times Notable Book, an American Library Association Book of the Year, a ‘Book of the Year’ in the Washington Post, and a finalist for the PEN USA fiction award. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American novelists.

Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons. He teaches now and then in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. His book reviews have appeared in the New York Times and Der Spiegel, and he writes a regular column on science books for the Boston Globe. Though he is often asked, as far as he knows he is not related to the late writer Harriet Doerr.

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