Notes from Evan Smith
"She's the novelist everyone wants to read -- the novelist other writers want to be. And I can tell you, having spent time interviewing her for the program you're about to see, she's the novelist every talk show host would kill to have as a guest. Jane Smiley is an odd bird in the most positive way
imaginable: quirky in her tastes, abundantly charming in her affect, completely unpredictable in her answers, which veer toward the stream of consciousness, and funny as hell in the driest, most ironic sense. But at the same time, enormously serious about her work, which has justifiably been praised and honored for going on thirty years. Born in Los Angeles, raised in a suburb on St. Louis, 60-year-old Smiley did her undergraduate work at Vassar College and earned a M.F.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.
The first of her twelve novels, Barn Blind, was published in 1980. Her most recent, The Georges and The Jewels, is out for only a few months. In between, she's won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for A Thousand Acres, whose plot loosely keys off of King Lear, and she has a handful of bcritically acclaimed works to her credit, including the richly comic Moo. We sat down to talk on Halloween, when she was in Austin for the Texas Book Festival, but, no, her shirt wasn't a costume -- as you'll hear, it was a nod to her beloved horses, which she raises in the northern California town she calls home, and to the horse-focused plot of her new book." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 12.10.09