Ann Beattie speaks to Updike’s descriptive powers

In a March 2023 interview with V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell, Ann Beattie talked about her new collection of essays, More to Say: Essays and Appreciations, which contains an essat on “John Updike’s Sense of Wonder.” Beattie was the keynote speaker at the 1st Biennial John Updike Society Conference in Reading, Pa., back in 2010, and a version of her talk—and this chapter—was published by The John Updike Review in 2011.

The Lit Hub-hosted interview series noted that in the interview Beattie discussed “her recent LitHub essay about Donald Barthelme’s short story ‘The Balloon’ and the Chinese spy balloon. She also talks about her recently published first collection of essays, More to Say: Essays and Appreciations, in which she writes about the work of authors, photographers, and artists she admires, including Elmore Leonard, Sally Mann, John Loengard, and her own husband, visual artist Lincoln Perry.

“Beattie explains why as a nonfiction writer, she prefers close looking and reading; considers defamiliarization in the hands of Barthelme and Alice Munro; analyzes former visual artist John Updike’s depiction of the natural world; and reflects on developing increased comfort with writing about visual art. She also reads excerpts from both her Lit Hub piece and the essay collection.”

Here’s the link to the Lit Hub interview.