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Don Swaim Interviews

Audio Interviews with William Burroughs

William Burroughs

William Burroughs, author of Queer, Junkie, Naked Lunch (a titled created by Jack Kerouac – a close friend of Burroughs) and Cities of the Red Night, joins Don Swaim in this 1984 interview on his 70th birthday.

He talks about how he inherited his wealth and how it was the weekly allowance he received from his parents that financed his drug addiction to morphine. His stint outside of the United States (from the 40s to about the 60s) was mainly because of his addiction. Buying morphine in Tangier (a city in Morocco) is legal. Despite his vise, he could still write well under the influence.

“What can seem negative can become valuable for a writer,” he said.

Burroughs finally became sober in 1957 and at the time of the interview, only drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes.

Listen to his views on drug use and his memories of Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg by clicking on the link below.

Listen to the William Burroughs interview with Don Swaim, February 10, 1984
(24 min. 55 sec.)

MP3 File

These files are for your personal use only.
Classroom use is permitted.
Redistribution is not permitted.

In this 1985 interview with Don Swaim, William Burroughs, who at times wrote under the name William Lee, discusses publishing his manuscript of Queer, which followed Junkie, his first novel about his own experiences as a drug addict. Burroughs also talks about his drug addiction claiming it is easier to get through life with "junk" but it's very inhibiting to creativity.

Although he has been sober from his drug addiction since 1957, as expressed in the previous interview, Burroughs admits he will from time to time use a bit of cannabis to get some inspiration for his writing.

Click on the link below to get a better understanding of the life of William Burroughs.

Listen to the William Burroughs interview with Don Swaim, November 5, 1985
(34 min. 36 sec.)

MP3 File

These files are for your personal use only.
Classroom use is permitted.
Redistribution is not permitted.

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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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