We all have those characters we know and love, that live on in our imaginations long after we finish reading a story. George Hodgman, Jane Hamilton, and Ben Fountain share their advice on writing compelling characters.
Moderator: Sara Nelson
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George Hodgman is the author of the memoir, Bettyville, and a veteran editor in books and magazines. He has worked at Simon and Schuster, Henry Holt, Houghton Mifflin, Vanity Fair, and the start-ups of Talk and Details. He has recently been a guest professor in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Missouri.
Jane Hamilton’s novels have won literary prizes, been made into films, and become international bestsellers; and two of them, The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, were selections of Oprah’s Book Club. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Allure, O: The Oprah Magazine, Elle, and various anthologies. She’s married to an apple farmer and lives in Wisconsin.
Ben Fountain’s novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award, and the L.A. Times Book Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Ang Lee directed the film adaptation of Billy Lynn, which was released in November 2016 and starts Steve Martin, Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, and Chris Tucker. Fountain is also the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara (Stories), which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and a Whiting Writer’s Award.