Stephen Carter on Writing


| July 26, 2002


Stephen Carter on Writing, Robert Birnbaum, Identity Theory
Stephen Carter's law career has been satisfying enough, but recently the Yale Law School graduate professor--also a public policy analyst and frequent guest on shows such as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and Face the Nation--has fulfilled another lifelong dream: completing and publishing his first work of fiction. The new novelist discusses with Robert Birnbaum in Identity Theory the differences in approaching the writing of fiction versus the more scholarly writing that branded him 'a leading public intellectual.' Carter's novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, takes place in the upper crust African-American society of Washington, D.C., and follows a character that is like Carter himself in his profession and race. But Carter gives his protagonist a very different view of the world than his, and he explores issues ranging from God, love, chess, and race. The shift to writing fiction was difficult, and the author describes the years-long process of writing the book. 'What everybody says about writing turned out to be true,' says Carter, 'but reading about and having it happen to you is different.'
--Julie Madsen
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