We were thrilled to have the chance to interview author/critic/amateur musician/professor David Gates, whose debut novel Jernigan was a Pulitzer finalist, and whose short story collection Wonders of the Invisible World was also one of our favorites.
booknosh: You’ve been a writer, an editor, a musician, a teacher and a critic — which of those roles is the most natural? the hardest work? or does it all go hand in hand?
DG: Probably editing comes the most naturally to me. I usually seem to know what to do with a piece of text, especially one that’s not my own–though of course I can be wrong. I haven’t done a lot of criticism lately, but teaching draws on what I know from both being a critic and a editor. Writing is the hardest work, and it gets harder as I learn more and set the bar higher for myself; it’s also what I probably do best. Music might be the most pure fun, but I’m a limited, not-professional-quality musician; I’m most successful when I play and sing within those limits.