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Quotation of the Week: Barbara Kingsolver

For a story to make the cut I asked a lot from it – asked of it, in fact, what I ask of myself when I sit down to write, and that is to get straight down to it and carve something hugely important into a small enough amulet to fit inside a reader’s most sacred psychic pocket. I don’t care what it’s about, as long as it’s not trivial. I once heard a writer declare from a lectern: “I write about the mysteries of the human heart, which is the only thing a fiction writer has any business addressing.” And I thought to myself, Excuse me? I had recently begun thinking of myself as a fiction writer and was laboring under the illusion that I could address any mystery that piqued me, including but not limited to the human heart, human risk factors, human rights….The business of fiction is to probe the tender spots of an imperfect world, which is where I live, write and read.

–Barbara Kingsolver

Source: Kingsolver’s introduction to Best American Short Stories 2001, ed. Katrina Kenison, Barbara Kingsolver (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), pp. xvii-xix.

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