Philip Roth Announces Retirement — Yet Again

Novelist Insists BBC Chat Is 'Last Appearance'


By Reuters

Published May 19, 2014.
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Philip Roth, one of the world’s most revered novelists, confirmed he will retire from writing and public appearances in a final interview with the BBC.

Roth, 81, who has written more than 30 books and won numerous awards, spoke to the BBC for a two-part documentary shot in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, that will be broadcast on Tuesday and the following week.

“This is my last appearance on television, absolutely my last appearance on stage anywhere,” he tells presenter Alan Yentob, according to a preview released on Monday.

Roth made his announcement 18 months after he told a French magazine that his 31st book, “Nemesis”, about a fictional polio epidemic in 1944 that was published in 2010, would be his last.

Asked by Yentob about a statement in 2004 that he could not live without writing, Roth replied: “I was wrong. I had reached the end. There was nothing more for me to write about.

“I set out upon the great task of doing nothing. I’ve had a very good time over the last three or four years.”

Roth is one of America’s most lauded writers, with his novels exploring modern Jewish-American life. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel “American Pastoral”.

Best known for his semi-autobiographical and unreliable alter-ego Nathan Zuckerman, he first received critical attention aged 28 after winning the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction for his 1959 novella “Goodbye, Columbus”.

In his final interview, Roth discusses the impact of his most significant works, the BBC said in a statement.

“Philip Roth … has arguably had more to say about modern America than any other contemporary author,” the BBC said.


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