My parents were both first-generation Irish Catholics raised in Brooklyn.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

Profession: Author
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

I read a little bit of nonfiction and a lot of poetry. I think of poetry as my shot of whiskey when I don't have time to savor a whole bottle of wine.

For me, having characters who are part of a faith then allows me to talk about how that faith either works or fails them without having to attack the institution.

With her eyes to the ceiling she said, It's a baby grand. Her husband turned his head on the pillow. He might have been startled to find her there. He frowned, and then hesitated, and then whispered, disbelieving, You can tell already?

At the beginning of every semester, I ask my graduate students whether there is something I should read that will help me understand their work.

Loss is inevitable - you have to be blind or naive to think otherwise.

I think 'Charming Billy' ultimately is a novel about faith and what we believe in and, above all, what we choose to believe in.

Much of my experience with language was formed in the church, which has an oral tradition. There are lots of repetitions in prayers and song refrains. There's a sense of incantation, that if you call not once and not twice but for a third time, the spirit appears.

My love for the child asleep in the crib, the child's need for me, for my vigilance, had made my life valuable in a way that even the most abundantly offered love, my parents', my brother's, even Tom's, had failed to do. Love was required of me now--to be given, not merely to be sought and returned.

It was either God's reply or just April again, in the wind tunnel that was midtown.

Isn't it funny how we all die at the same time? Always at the end of our lives. Why worry?

My wife always knows exactly, he said. There was a bit of tobacco on his wet lip. But that's probably because she only lets me do it twice a year, Valentine's and my birthday, so it's not hard to figure. He stepped out the door and then turned to say, I got two kids born in.

I know Irish-American people. I know what their homes look like. I know what they have for dinner. I know how they turn a phrase.

Any adjective you put before the noun 'writer' is going to be limiting in some way. Whether it's feminist writer, Jewish writer, Russian writer, or whatever.

It would be a different Church if I were running it. And so lifted the burden of that terrible morning with some laughter.