Conversations with Joan Didion
Collected interviews with the iconic American author spanning decades, continents, and genres
Joan Didion (b. 1934) is an American icon. Her essays, particularly those in Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, have resonated in American culture to a degree unmatched over the past half century. Two generations of writers have taken her as the measure of what it means to write personal essays. No one writes about California, the sixties, media narratives, cultural mythology, or migraines without taking Didion into account. She has also written five novels; several screenplays with her husband, John Gregory Dunne; and three late-in-life memoirs, including The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights, which have brought her a new wave of renown.
Conversations with Joan Didion features seventeen interviews with the author, spanning decades, continents, and genres. Didion reflects on her childhood in Sacramento; her time at Berkeley (both as a student and later as a visiting professor), in New York, and in Hollywood; her marriage to Dunne; and of course her writing. Didion describes her methods of writing, the ways in which the various genres she has worked in inform one another, and the concerns that have motivated her to write.
"In his introduction to Conversations with Joan Didion, Scott F. Parker writes that Didion 'denies her interviewers the power to define' her. . . . But the close reader will discern an outline of the preoccupations that have driven Didion for decades. "- Tayt Harlin, Times Literary Supplement