Writer Anthony Doerr on the power of books, writing and literature | Louisiana Channel



“It just started with this idea: I wanna make other worlds.”

Meet American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr in this personal interview.

“I think the best stories are the ones that get retold enough so that the next generation can see something new in each. It’s about stewardship. What does it mean to care for stories? I am in love with the idea that stories can provide some continuity through time. If we forget our histories, we repeat them. It’s so important to remember.”

“Literature is an empathy machine. This sense that you are not alone in your experience. For me, so much of that came from reading.”

Anthony Doerr (b. 1973) is an American author of novels and short stories. Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr attended the nearby University School, graduating in 1991. He then majored in history at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, graduating in 1995. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Bowling Green State University. In 2014 he gained widespread recognition for his novel All the Light We Cannot See, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Doerr’s first book was a collection of short stories called The Shell Collector (2002). Many of the stories take place in countries within Africa and New Zealand, where he has worked and lived. His first novel, About Grace, was released in 2004. His memoir, Four Seasons in Rome, was published in 2007, and his second collection of short stories, Memory Wall, was published in 2010.

Doerr’s second novel, All the Light We Cannot See, is set in occupied France during World War II and was published in 2014. It received significant critical acclaim and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction. The book was a New York Times bestseller and was named by the newspaper as a notable book of 2014. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015. It was runner-up for the 2015 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction and won the 2015 Ohioana Library Association Book Award for Fiction.

Doerr’s third novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, follows three storylines scattered throughout time: Thirteen-year-old Anna and Omeir, an orphaned seamstress and a cursed boy, on opposite sides of formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour and octogenarian Zeno in an attack on a public library in present-day Idaho; and Konstance, decades from now, who turns to the oldest stories to guide her community in peril. The novel was released in September 2021 and was shortlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction.

Doerr writes a column on science books for The Boston Globe and is a regular contributor to The Morning News, an online magazine. He lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

Anthony Doerr was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his Danish publisher, Politikens Forlag, in Copenhagen. The interview was recorded in June 2022.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Signe Boe Pedersen
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2022
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.

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