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Charles Baxter | The Lit Show Interview

Season 06
Episode 15
Wednesday, Dec. 6th, 2012 at 3 PM CST

On this Lit Show, Deborah Kennedy speaks with distinguished novelist, essayist, and short story writer Charles Baxter.

Charles Baxter was born in Minneapolis and graduated from Macalester College in Saint Paul. After completing graduate work in English at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he taught at Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1989, he moved to the Department of English at the University of Michigan where he headed up its MFA program for several years. He now teaches at the University of Minnesota.

Baxter is the author of 5 novels, including First Light, The Feast of Love, and The Soul Thief, 5 collections of short stories, 3 collections of poems, 2 collections of essays on fiction, and has served as the editor for such works as A William Maxwell Portrait: Memories and Appreciations and Best New American Voices 2001.

In her review of Baxter’s Gryphon: New and Selected Stories, Joyce Carol Oates wrote, “Beneath the shadowless equanimity of Norman Rockwell’s America … Baxter evokes something like the chilling starkness and human isolation of the work of Edward Hopper: that bleakly beautiful art in which mannequinlike figures are positioned without seeming awareness of one another, tentatively or clumsily posed, staring vacantly into space in scenes that both invite and repel nostalgia.”

Over the course of his career, Baxter has received countless awards for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His novel, The Feast of Love, which was made into a feature film in 2007, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and his most recent book on craft, The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot, won the 2008 Minnesota Book Award for General Non-fiction.

Excerpts

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