People I meet in my everyday life inspire the characters of my novels: Author Andrew Sean Greer

Writer Andrew Sean Greer, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his satirical comedy ‘Less’, said he draws inspiration from the people he encounters in his everyday life to sketch the characters of his novels.

Greer, who was in the city to address a session at the Tata Steel Literary Meet, also said he looks for humor even in mundane and boring situations like waiting for luggage at the airport.

”I ask for notes everywhere I go, about people’s mannerisms, their hair, their glasses and also some unique characteristics like someone missing an arm. I love learning about people’s lives.

“When I sit down to write, I think about how I would tell this story to my friends at the bar,” he said.

The writer, who wrote a sequel to his award-winning novel, explained that after ‘Less’ he tried to write another story, but it somehow ended up being about his protagonist from the previous one.

”As a child I always tried to write sequels to existing books. I think that’s a good way to start… I remember reading ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams. It was about rabbits. And then I wrote a sequel to that, which was about squirrels.

”However, my agent asked me not to write a sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. “I took that advice and started writing the second book, but it turned out that the second book was about Arthur Less (the main character from ‘Less’),” he said.

The 52-year-old writer, who also received critical acclaim for his books ‘The Story of a Marriage’ and ‘Confessions of Max Tivoli’, emphasized that he often makes fun of circumstances that actually upset him.

Greer, who identifies as gay, said: ”We lost many in the generation of gay men above me to AIDS. It’s one of the saddest things I know, but it’s also a source of comedy. Now, we don’t know what it’s like to grow old. Same with love. When you sign up for it, you’re also signing up for sadness.” An audience member noted that his book ‘Less’ has a sense of melancholy despite being a comedy, the author said: “Touching is a word I often use for myself when I can’t describe the mood which I’m in… when I’m feeling a bit wistful, but not unhappy. I think that comes naturally into the books.”When asked about his next novel, Greer said it is set in Italy, where he has lived for some time.

“The topic is about death, I’ve been thinking about it for some time. But it would be about death in a funny way,’ he signed.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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