Literary Festival 2012 Author Interview Questions


Literary Festival 2012 Author Interview Questions


Environmental Writing


The twelve questions asked each of the four environmental writers during interviews at The New Nature Writing, Lake Forest College's 2012 Literary Festival. Questions are numbered and listed in the order in which they were asked. Questions are separated into general writing and philosphy questions, 1-9, and book specific questions, 10-12. Interviewed authors were: Mark Spitzer, Ed Roberson, Brenda Iijima and John Elder. Books referenced were those read by Professor Corey's Environmental Writing course: Season of the Gar by Mark Spitzer, City Eclogue by Ed Roberson, revv. you'll -ution by Brenda Iijima and Reading the Mountains of Home by John Elder.


Catherine Masek








Literary Festival Author Interview Questions: Spitzer, Roberson, Iijima, Elder

General Writing/Philosophy:

1) What brought you to writing in general? Environmental writing in particular?

2) How would you classify your writing and your style as a writer? Do you have a single or a multifaceted writing voice? How would you define your voice as a writer?

3) Do you differentiate between writing and environmental writing? What’s the difference? Do you view yourself as an environmental writer or as a writer who happens to write on environmental topics?

4) What does environmental writing mean to you? What is an environment? The Environment? Is there a difference between environmental writing and nature writing? What is your environment?

5) What is the purpose or goal of writing to/for you? The purpose of environmental writing?

6) Do you write with an (internal or external) articulated writing philosophy? If so, what is it? How do you “approach the page”? Intention or openness?

7) Do you agree or disagree with the following statements: a) writing is communication b) writing is self-expression c) writing is art d) writing is a tool. Why? Are any of these statements mutually exclusive? Mutually inclusive?

8) Should an author write about what they know, about their own environment? How do you define knowledge for a writer? Is it research/study or experience?

9) If you had one piece of advice for aspiring environmental writers, a take-home-message, what would it be?

Book Specific:

10) As the author, are you writing to a particular audience? Who is your intended/expected audience? Do you view your work as universally* accessible? Is that a desirable trait in writing, accessibility?

11) BLANK is not your first, or your most recent, book. How does it fit into your career as a writer, your writing arch or journey? Does it reflect you as a writer today, in part or whole?

12) Would you comment briefly on the work and writing you are doing and pursuing today?

* “Universally” removed after Spitzer’s interview due to confusion of meaning in question.


Catherine Masek, “Literary Festival 2012 Author Interview Questions,” Digital Collections - Lake Forest College, accessed May 23, 2019,

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