• THE WRITING LIFE

The Novelist's Lexicon

At an international literary conference, 70 authors, including Jonathon Lethem, Colum McCann, A. S. Byatt, and Annie Proulx, were asked to choose one word that might offer a key to their work or their creative process. Their "passwords," and the musings they inspire, make fascinating reading.

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April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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