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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Seventy-Two

Jane Smiley

Smart Luck

Adrienne Crezo

Since Jane Smiley’s 1980 debut novel, Barn Blind (an American pastoral centered on a family fraught with clashing ambitions), and through and beyond her 1992 Pulitzer Prize–winning A Thousand Acres (a modern American reinterpretation of King Lear), she’s been a self-proclaimed fiddler—a writer who toys with form, plucks at connective threads, and pulls notes from history both near and ancient. This fiddling, says Smiley, comes from a deep sense of curiosity. And that curiosity shines through as she talks: Interesting, think, know, learn, and understand are words she uses frequently in conversation, and it’s apparent in her body of work that she has a broad range of interests.

The Iowa ...

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