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Don Swaim Interviews

Audio Interview with John Updike

John Updike

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, author John Updike talks with Don Swaim about Updike's novels, The Witches of Eastwick and Rabbit Run, in this 1984 interview.

Updike’s fascination with witches started when he was a boy. He grew up in "witchy" and superstitious part of Pennsylvania. His grandmother was a Pennsylvania Dutch, and she too was very superstitious.

His curiosity peaked during his college years when he had the time to research the subject. From his research, he found no one had ever been proved to be an actual witch. Records only showed those who admitted to it, most likely to end his or her torture, or if they were "crazy."

Updike also comments on another one of his novels, The Coup, which is about, and narrated by, the president of a fictional Marxist Islamic central African nation called Kush. Updike was criticized for going on a limb to write about something as foreign to him as Africa, but he defended his decision by saying writers should not be afraid to write about something new.

To hear more of his words of wisdom related to the craft of writing and to learn more about his career as a writer, click on the link below.

Listen to the John Updike interview with Don Swaim, June 5, 1984
(31 min. 33 sec.)

MP3 File

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For over a decade, many of the best writers of the English language found their way onto Don Swaim's daily two-minute CBS Radio show, Book Beat. His New York-based program was derived from longer interviews, sometimes 40-minutes in length. Found exclusively here, Wired for Books proudly webcasts these conversations in their entirety using RealAudio.

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