Edmund White – On The Impecunious Nature of The Writing Life

I always feel like my life is in a state of peril. If you saw my bank account you would understand why I say that. I never have enough money. I’m never sure that they are going to publish my next book. And I’m not sure literally. And it’s not just me worrying about things. It’s really true that I’m still shuffling between various publishing houses trying to find my way. So at age 70, I never feel like I can retire. I just received a kind of ominous letter by email from Princeton taking about my retirement but I thought they can’t make you retire. And I can’t afford to retire. So I’ll just go on and stagger on until I fall in my steps.

Edmund White – Writers at Work, Kansas City Public Library, Public Talk, 2010. [Transcribed by MN].


Novelist and critic Edmund White discusses his new memoir City Boy on February 22, 2010, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., Kansas City, MO.

White became immediately became involved with the publishing industry upon moving to New York from the Midwest in 1962 but struggled to get his own writing career off the ground. His first book Forgetting Elena was finally published in 1971, but sold only 600 copies.

In City Boy, White says he “longed for literary celebrity” and recalls how he overcame setbacks and his own insecurities to write 23 books, including A Boy’s Own Story — his autobiographical novel about growing up gay in the 1950s. He explains how “Fun City” became “Fear City” with the AIDS crisis and recalls meeting such legendary figures as Truman Capote and William S. Burroughs.


Listen to the full audio of this highly entertaining and very insightful talk about the trials and tribulations of writing life at: https://archive.org/details/EdmundWhiteCityBoy





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