Nine Great Writers Talk to Bill Moyers About Why They Write

Today is National Why I Write Day. The National Writing Project, NCTE, The New York Times Learning Network and the Teaching Channel invite us to celebrate writing in all its forms and are promoting a hashtag — #WhyIWrite — on Twitter encouraging writers to post links to their work and share it with other writers.

While many of you may associate Bill with his hard-hitting documentary reports, essays and interviews with policy experts and journalists, it’s his conversations with writers and their readings of their own poetry and prose that over the years have introduced millions to the creators of amazing literature. Here are seven videos that feature some of our greatest American writers talking about the act of writing.

Toni Morrison
Beloved author talks about the things that inspire her writing in this classic 1990 conversation.

Norman Lear
The producer of “All in the Family” explains how writing a sitcom is a collaborative process between the writers and everybody else on set.

MFK Fisher
When Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher began to write, her publisher said “women don’t write this way” so she was told to use the initials MFK. Others have called her the greatest food writer of our time.

Luis Alberto Urrea
Storyteller Luis Alberto Urrea talks with Bill about crossing borders of all kinds in his writing.

Maxine Hong Kingston
The author of The Woman Warrior tells Bill how she linked her parents’ tales of tradition to the story of her own American experience, blending childhood memory, meditation and magic.

Isaac Asimov
The sci-fi writer who was once described by a peer as “the greatest explainer of the age” tells Bill why he finds science fiction the best outlet for his truth.

Where the Soul Lives
In this moving episode from The Power of the Word Series, poets Robert Bly, Lucille Clifton and W.S. Merwin talk about their work.

Hear more writers talking about #whyiwrite on the Poets & Writers page.

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