Padgett Powell


Photo: Gately Williams

Padgett Powell

Powell has published six novels and three collections of short stories, his latest Cries for Help, Various. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Paris Review, Best American Short Stories, and other publications. Powell has won the Prix de Rome, the Whiting Writers Award, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

I write failed novels. Sometimes the failure is apparent by page three. Sometimes it is not apparent until two hundred pages have obtained. The readiness to recognize failure seems to be a function of age. A youngster—I’d have said young man but I have learned not to gender it—may press on with a bad idea that an oldster may have the wit to abandon. A thirteen-page “story” then spares us from a three-hundred-page “novel.”


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