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Peter Carey's Quotes

Peter Carey profile photo

Born: 1943-02-07
Profession: Novelist
Nation: Australian
Biography of Peter Carey

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Nostalgia is something we think of as fuzzy. But it's pain. Pain concerning the past.

Tags: Nostalgia, Pain, Past

Being famous as a writer is like being famous in a village. It's not really any very heady fame.

Tags: Fame, Famous, Writer

Good writing of course requires talent, and no one can teach you to have talent.

Tags: Good, Talent, Writing

I don't think you have the right to shout about other people's private life.

Tags: Life, Private, Shout

I never base characters on real people. There are people who do that but I really don't know how to do it.

Tags: Base, Characters, Real

I think that thing about the destruction of the world is there all the time, it's there every day when we look out the window.

Tags: Time, Window

I'm always the one with the activist friends. I've been an activist very little.

Tags: Activist, Friends

I'm interested in where we are, where we're going, where we've come from.

Tags: Interested

My greatest pleasure is to invent. My continual mad ambition is to make something true and beautiful that never existed in the world before.

Tags: Beautiful, Greatest, True

Writers, at least writers of fiction, are always full of anxiety and worry.

Tags: Anxiety, Full, Worry

And it's always possible that you will not get a nice review. So - and that's enraging of course, to get a bad review, you can't talk back, and it's sort of shaming in a way.

Tags: Bad, Nice, Talk

At the very end of a book I can manage to work for longer stretches, but mostly, making stuff up for three hours, that's enough. I can't do any more. At the end of the day I might tinker with my morning's work and maybe write some again. But I think three hours is fine.

Tags: End, Morning, Work

I don't separate my books into historical novels and the rest. To me, they're all made-up worlds, and both kinds are borne out of curiosity, some investigation into the past.

Tags: Both, Past, Rest

I have written a memoir here and there, and that takes its own form of selfishness and courage. However, generally speaking, I have no interest in writing about my own life or intruding in the privacy of those around me.

Tags: Courage, Life, Writing

I like how they are. I think they're great. And their communities are communities. I have a greater sense of community in New York than almost anywhere I've ever lived. Really, it's terrific.

Tags: Almost, Great, Sense

I thought I would be an organic chemist. I went off to university, and when I couldn't understand the chemistry lectures I decided that I would be a zoologist, because zoologists seemed like life-loving people.

Tags: Off, Thought, Understand

I went to work in 1962, and by '64 I was writing all the time, every night and every weekend. It didn't occur to me that, having read nothing and knowing nothing, I was in no position to write a book.

Tags: Book, Time, Work

It's true: one of the things that I've always thought about American society is that you never get the sort of natural politicisation of class consciousness that you would get in the United Kingdom or even in Australia.

Tags: Society, Thought, True

One has to be able to twist and change and distort characters, play with them like clay, so everything fits together. Real people don't permit you to do that.

Tags: Change, Real, Together

So in the first draft, I'm inventing people and place with a broad schematic idea of what's going to happen. In the process, of course, I discover all sorts of bigger and more substantial things.

Tags: Happen, Idea, Place

The great thing about using the past is that it gives you the most colossal freedom to invent. The research is necessary, of course, but no one writes a novel to dramatically illustrate what everybody already knows.

Tags: Freedom, Great, Past

What I find really attractive is something that's going to be a little dangerous. Something that might get me into trouble; you know, you turn up in London and you've just rewritten Dickens. And, of course, then you think, 'What have I done?'

Tags: Dangerous, Done, Trouble
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