Bill Clegg biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Bill Clegg
Photo: Christian Hansen

Bill Clegg

Bill Clegg Biography

Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York and the author of the bestselling memoirs Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days. His first novel, Did You Ever Have a Family, hit the New York Times bestseller list and was longlisted for the National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Bill has also written for The New York Times, Lapham's Quarterly, New York magazine, The Guardian, and Harper's Bazaar.

Bill Clegg's website

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Interview

Author Bill Clegg discusses his writing process and, as a literary agent, shares advice with aspiring novelists.

As someone who has been both an author and a literary agent, do you have any advice for aspiring novelists? Is there anything you wish you had been told at the start of your career?

Write!! And then write more. And keep it to yourself for as long as you can before sharing with others. The real writing comes in solving the problems that come up after you've been at it a while. I flopped around for over a year transcribing notes I'd email to myself all with "Novel" in the subject line, and took even longer taking stabs at how to tell the story that I only sensed I wanted to tell but had no clue as to the specifics. Take your time but don't dawdle. You have to get comfortable with experimenting and getting it wrong and also staring at the computer screen with nothing to type. All this discomfort and doubt and frustration in the beginning is just what you have to go through to get to the place where something begins to take shape. Sometimes this period can last a long time. Sometimes not. Either way, it's just as necessary as the days where you feel like you're transcribing something that already exists and your fingers can't move fast enough to put down the words that flow so easily (these days are ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Bill Clegg at BookBrowse
The End of the Day jacket Did You Ever Have A Family jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Bill Clegg but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Barbara D'Amato

    Barbara D'Amato

    Barbara D'Amato is a playwright, novelist, and crime researcher. She began writing full-time in 1973, first co-writing plays with her husband, Anthony D'Amato.

    After trying different genres, her first published novel in 1980 ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Did You Ever Have A Family

    Try:
    White Male Infant
    by Barbara D'Amato

  • Jonathan Franzen

    Jonathan Franzen

    Jonathan Franzen was born in Western Springs, Illinois, in 1959, and grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1981 he studied at the Freie Universität in ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Did You Ever Have A Family

    Try:
    The Corrections
    by Jonathan Franzen

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