Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on January 18, 2012.
John Sayles, born in upstate New York in 1950, has a storied career as an independent filmmaker, screenwriter, and writer of fiction and nonfiction. He has written and directed many films including Return of the Secaucus Seven, Lone Star, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, and Matewan. Writing scripts for others—he has a long list of credits as screenwriter—has generated the funds to support the production of most of his own films.
Sayles’ first novel, Pride of the Bimbos, was published in 1975 and was followed in 1977 by the novel Union Dues and a story collection, The Anarchist’s Collection, in 1979. Los Gusanos, his sweeping tale of Cuban expatriates in Miami, followed in 1991, and his most recent novel, A Moment in the Sun, was released this year by McSweeney’s and clocks in at 900+ pages. The novel is “a brutal picaresque complete with melancholy whores, militaristic robber barons, desperate cut-throat prospectors, and puppet soldiers…” according to William Vollmann, that looks at the United States discovering its own size and wealth and taking giant first steps at imperialism in the late 19th century.
Besides numerous awards and nominations for his film work and screenwriting including a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Writer’s Guild of America, literary recognition for Sayles has come in the form of an O. Henry Award for his first published story and nominations for both a National Book Award and the National Book Critics Award for the novel Union Dues. In 1985 he received a MacArthur Fellowship for his work in both film and writing.[audio:http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.lannan.org/podcasts/john-sayles-120118.mp3|artists=Lannan Readings and Conversations|titles=John Sayles with Francisco Goldman]
Additional photos of this event are available on Flickr.
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