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Elizabeth Strout on Writing: ‘Just keep going.’

‘It's never easy. But it is sometimes fun. And when it's going well, there's nothing like it.' At 66, Elizabeth Strout turns out books faster than ever, and no global pandemic could slow her down. Her latest novel, Lucy by the Sea, is fast on the heels of her Booker Prize-shortlisted Oh William! and follows the characters first introduced in My Name Is Lucy Barton through the pandemic. Strout says she honestly doesn't know how she's become so productive at an age when many people might consider retiring. “I think there's just a sense of having prepared for a marathon for so many years, and now I'm running it, you know?” she says. “That's my sense because it keeps coming out, and I know more what I'm doing now.” Her marathon training involved many unusual day jobs and piles of rejections. She kept the rejections in a box but never counted them and threw them away when she published her first novel at 42. Even now, she says, is never easy. “No, it's never easy. But it is sometimes fun. And when it's going well, there's nothing like it.” In conversation with PEN America, Strout reflected on Lucy by the Sea and life as a writer. Early on in Lucy by the Sea, Lucy thinks she will never write another word again. But obviously, you were quite productive during the pandemic. Did you ever have that […]

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