I did go to an MFA program, at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. For me, it worked perfectly. It was a small program. They only take five fiction writers a year, and they fund all of us - you don't go into debt to get an MFA. It's not like getting an MBA - you're not going to buy yourself out.

Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

Gold and diamonds are nice, but clean, crisp, controlled water has long been the preeminent hallmark of the rich.

I listen to podcasts while I run in Boise's foothills.

'Never do the dishes without music,' my brother Mark once advised me - the same brother who once ate a spoonful of refrigerated dog food to escape his turn at the kitchen sink. And really, it may be the most sensible advice I've been given.

Great writers probably shouldn't be ranked, at least not by me.

Science and literature are both ways to ask questions about why we're here.

You need to be imagining all the time, imagining yourself outside the walls of your own skull.

For me, the natural world is always telling big stories about humongous scales of time. And I often feel simultaneously terrified and humbled by those scales and in awe, and delighted that I get to be here; that I'm lucky enough, that we are lucky enough to get experience these things for the tiny finger snap of time that we get to be on Earth.

I think fiction is important because it has the power to transport a reader into another life.

Anyone who has spent a few nights in a tent during a storm can tell you: The world doesn't care all that much if you live or die.

Memory is this one attempt to not be erased by time. And I think that ties back to what I learned watching my grandmother lose her memories is, you know, we are all facing erasure eventually.

The only books I give up on are texts where the writer's attention is concentrated so heavily on narrative questions that his or her use of language becomes careless.

If your mind is anything like mine, it can stumble through a half-dozen different thoughts in a heartbeat.

I kind of do all of this writing as a way of thinking and learning. I'm sure it's similar to being a journalist: You get to learn, and that's the greatest kind of job.

That's the power of fiction, that it can take the collective and make it personal.