George Salis: I’ve heard that you’ve pretty much disavowed your debut novel, You Bright and Risen Angels, because you could easily make things up all day long. I attended an event with Salman Rushdie in Miami in 2015 for the promotion of his new novel at the time, Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. He said, “Just like writing about the future is a way of talking about the past, fairy tales are a way of talking about the real world.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement and do you think it could act as a kind of defense for your first novel?
William T. Vollmann: I agree, because…
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William T. Vollmann is a writer with an extraordinary output of work. He has published two dozen books, including the seven-volume Rising Up and Rising Down, Europe Central, and the two-volume Carbon Ideologies. He is known for his combination of journalistic immediacy with a profound moral inquiry. Vollmann is also known for embracing taboo subject matter and highly dangerous situations, such as running with the Afghan guerrilla mujahedin against Soviet invaders and nearly freezing to death alone at the North Pole. He is the recipient of multiple literary awards, including the National Book Award for Fiction for Europe Central, and has been awarded a Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His latest novel, The Lucky Star, is the middle entry in his Transgender Trilogy. Vollmann is currently completing a long novel about September 11, the CIA, and homelessness.
George Salis is the author of Sea Above, Sun Below. His fiction is featured in The Dark, Black Dandy, Zizzle Literary Magazine, House of Zolo, Three Crows Magazine, and elsewhere. His criticism has appeared in Isacoustic, Atticus Review, and The Tishman Review, and his science article on the mechanics of natural evil was featured in Skeptic. He is currently working on an encyclopedic novel titled Morphological Echoes. He has taught in Bulgaria, China, and Poland. Find him on Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, and at www.GeorgeSalis.com.