My life in writing.

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My life in writing 


When Michael Cunningham completed his fourth novel, The Hours, he had "no doubt whatsoever", that it would sell a few hundred copies at most. "It was to be my artistic book", he explains. "The plan was to try and make it up with the next book which would be the best-seller". But the plan had to be put on hold earlier this year when The Hours was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, and was ripped up altogether when, to Cunningham's astonishment, he was awarded the prize in April.

It was a remarkable change of fortune for the 47-year-old New York-based author whose previous novels have been set at the messy junction where gay life meets family life in America. The Pulitzer is specifically given to a book that reflects the "quintessential American experience"; Cunningham had increasingly been painted as a populist gay writer.

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He says: "My book is about three women of ambivalent sexuality, one of whom is Virginia Woolf, so when I was nominated I thought ha ha ha... But maybe my favourite thing about winning the prize is the implication that the American experience is broad enough and deep enough to include three women of ambivalent sexuality one of whom is Virginia Woolf.

"I haven't changed my view that prizes are mostly stupid and embarrassing, but I do like the fact that this odd little book was deemed in some way to be about the American experience."

Cunningham's own ...

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