Colson Whitehead Quotes

Colson Whitehead (born November 6, 1969) is a New York-based novelist. He is the author of six novels, including his debut work, the 1999 novel The Intuitionist, and National Book Award The Underground Railroad (2016), for which he won the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He has also published two books of non-fiction. In 2002, he received a MacArthur Fellowship ("Genius Grant").

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Colson Whitehead


Growing up devouring horror comics and novels, and being inspired to become a writer because of horror novels, movies, and comic books, I always knew I was going to write a horror novel.

Colson Whitehead


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Hipsters seek refuge in church, Our Lady of Perpetual Subculture. There is some discussion as to whether or not they are still cool but then they are calmed by the obscure location and the arrival of their kind. Keep the address to yourself, let the rabble fund it themselves. Wow, this crappy performance art is really making me feel no so terrible about my various emotional issues.

Colson Whitehead


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I live in Brooklyn. I moved here 14 years ago for the cheap rent. It was a little embarrassing because I was raised in Manhattan, and so I was a bit of a snob about the other boroughs.

Colson Whitehead


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Most people say, "Show, don't tell," but I stand by Show and Tell, because when writers put their work out into the world, they're like kids bringing their broken unicorns and chewed-up teddy bears into class in the sad hope that someone else will love them as much as they do.

Colson Whitehead


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New York City in life was much like New York City in death. It was still hard to get a cab, for example.

Colson Whitehead


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His legs remembered the correct position for squatting down with toys. He played. He fit the round male studs into the round female grooves. He got some thinking done as he hunkered down on his fallen-sleep legs.

Colson Whitehead


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What isn't said is as important as what is said.

Colson Whitehead


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I get invited to do panels with other Brooklyn writers to discuss what it's like to be a writer in Brooklyn. I expect it's like writing in Manhattan, but there aren't as many tourists walking very slowly in front of you when you step out for coffee. It's like writing in Paris, but there are fewer people speaking French.

Colson Whitehead


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A lot of my writer friends live near me, and that makes people think we just hang around with one another in cafes, trading work and discussing 'Harper's' and what not. But I rarely see them. We're home working.

Colson Whitehead


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I grew up reading the 'Village Voice' and wanting to be one of these multidisciplinary music writers, film writers, book writers. And I lucked out getting a job at the 'Voice' right after college.

Colson Whitehead


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Early on my career, I figured out that I just have to write the book I have to write at that moment. Whatever else is going on in the culture is just not that important. If you could get the culture to write your book, that would be great. But the culture can't write your book.

Colson Whitehead


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I'm just trying to keep things rich for me creatively and for the readers who follow me.

Colson Whitehead


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Pain could be killed. Sadness could not, but the drugs did shut its mouth for a time.

Colson Whitehead


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Whoever has the better stuff wins. Sound familiar, American lackeys of late-stage capitalism?

Colson Whitehead


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What does the perfect elevator look like, the one that will deliver us from the cities we suffer now, these stunted shacks? We don't know because we can't see inside it, it's something we cannot imagine, like the shape of angels' teeth. It's a black box.

Colson Whitehead


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