In 1946, George Orwell articulated the reasons why he put pen to paper in an essay entitled Why I Write.
In this Web series, authors talk about their literary habits and reading preferences,
and examine Orwell's question that lies at the heart of being an author—why they write.

Joe Bennett

Where Underpants Come From


Born in England, Joe Bennett has lived in New Zealand since 1987. His newspaper columns are syndicated throughout the country and on five occasions he has been judged New Zealand Columnist of the Year, most recently in 2011. He is the author of four travel books published by Simon and Schuster UK, and 13 collections of his columns have been published in New Zealand and three world-wide. Where Underpants Come From: From Cotton Fields to Checkout Counters — Travels Through the New China and Into the New Global Economy was the Whitcoulls Travcom Travel Book of the Year in 2009.


Why I write


Do you write every day? If so, how many hours?
Most days. Average perhaps five hours. Most of that time is rewriting.


Worst source of distraction?



Best source of inspiration?



How often do you get writers’ block/doubt your own ability?
Do plumbers get plumber’s block? As for doubting own ability, constantly. Which drives me back to craft.


Contemporary writer in any medium who you never miss?
Justin Cartwright. Novelist.


Favorite Chinese writer?
I’ve read only Ma Jian’s Red Dust. Grinding stuff.


Best book about China?
Rayne Kruger’s All Under Heaven. Comprehensive history of China from the beginning.


Favorite book?
King Lear.


Favorite writer?
Evelyn Waugh.


The book you should have read but haven’t?
War and Peace, of course. But have read the first chapter three times.


You look back at the first thing you had published and think…
No, I don’t.


Does writing change anything?
Mine doesn’t. Some people’s may, eventually.


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Posted on: March 4th, 2013 by JFK Miller No Comments