Happy Birthday, Peter Carey, born 7 May 1943
10 Peter Carey Quotes
- If you ever read one of my books I hope you’ll think it looks so easy. In fact, I wrote those chapters 20 times over, and over, and over, and that if you want to write at a good level, you’ll have to do that too.
- Being famous as a writer is like being famous in a village. It’s not really any very heady fame.
- I went to work in 1962, and by ‘64 I was writing all the time, every night and every weekend. It didn’t occur to me that, having read nothing and knowing nothing, I was in no position to write a book.
- My greatest pleasure is to invent. My continual mad ambition is to make something true and beautiful that never existed in the world before.
- Good writing of course requires talent, and no one can teach you to have talent. It also needs amazing will. Your role as teacher is to nurture and protect your students while, at the same time, forcing them beyond their limits, encouraging them to see the world, to imagine every action in the moment, to see the body as part of dialogue, and basically to write as if their life depended on it.
- Writers, at least writers of fiction, are always full of anxiety and worry.
- One has to be able to twist and change and distort characters, play with them like clay, so everything fits together. Real people don’t permit you to do that.
- History is like a bloodstain that keeps on showing on the wall no matter how many new owners take possession, no matter how many times we paint over it.
- The huge pleasures are discovering things that you didn’t know and creating characters who are not based on anybody you’ve ever seen. When I first set out to be a writer I had no real interest in character and certainly no aptitude or ability to create character. The pleasures of having created those characters are enormous. It’s a very privileged way to spend your mornings.
- Writers live with doubt and failure. Most days we don’t succeed. Most days we know we have to rewrite, that we haven’t yet arrived. This is not always unpleasant, but it can be. Perfectionism, on the other hand, is self-defeating. A perfectionist can never finish the task at hand.
Carey is an Australian novelist. He is one of only four writers to have won the Booker Prize twice—the others being J. M. Coetzee, J. G. Farrell and Hilary Mantel. Carey won his first Booker Prize in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda, and won for the second time in 2001 with True History of the Kelly Gang. Carey is thought to be Australia’s next contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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