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This interview is taken from PN Review 111, Volume 23 Number 1, September - October 1996.

in Conversation with Edmund White Mark Ford

Edmund White was born in Cincinatti, Ohio, in 1940. His books include Forgetting Elena (1973), Nocturnes for the King of Naples (1978), States of Desire: Travels in Gay America (1980), A Boy's Own Story (1982), Caracole (1985), The Beautiful Room is Empty (1988), and a biography of Jean Genet. His most recent publications are The Burning Library (1994) - a collection of writings on art, politics and sexuality - and Skinned Alive (1995), a volume of short stories. This interview was conducted on 3 May 1996, in Camden Town in London.

MARK FORD: You've currently got two biographers on your trail. How does that feel?


EDMUND WHITE: Well, my nephew is one of my biographers, and he's doing a fairly traditional biography, with a lot of emphasis on my childhood because he has access to my sister - who's his mother - and to me, and I think he's very interested in the family and the family background, so I find he's rather disappointingly uninterested in my literary career - but in any event, he's only half-way through the book. The other one is Stephen Barber, who's doing a book for Picador; he's English and he's more interested in the European years, that is since 1983, and in my writing.

Your own fiction often uses the forms and voice of autobiography. Are you worried lest your biographers' versions of your lift clash with auto-fictions - to use your own term -such asA Boy's ...


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