“I like to say ‘I write,’ or ‘I paint,’ and not ‘I am an anything.”
The award-winning writer of novels, short stories, screenplays, and poems, Susan Minot says she grew up in a family in which everyone always had something before them to do with their hands. It is a habit that has stayed with her throughout her life. She carries pocket-sized art materials wherever she is and records in paint whatever happens to be in front of her—whether it’s a tree on the Masai Mara, friends, family, or strangers on a boat, or the view from her hotel window. Sometimes the image accompanies a poem, or vice-versa; sometimes it overlays and transforms a photograph.
Although she studied art at Brown and Columbia and has clearly acquired an artist’s skills, Minot denies herself the status of “artist” or, for that matter, of “writer.” “I like to say, ‘I write,’ or ‘I paint,’ and not ‘I am an anything.’”
My interview with her has been edited into a five minute excerpt by the critically acclaimed filmmaker Michelle Memran. Enjoy it here:
You can read more about Susan Minot and her art in The Writer’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers where you’ll find more than 400 plates of artwork by great writers and the stories behind them.