Why Hernan Diaz Hopes His Writing Keeps Getting Rejected
In Conversation with Brad Listi on Otherppl
Hernan Diaz is the guest. His new book, Trust, is out now from Riverhead.
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From the episode:
Hernan Diaz: It is a lot more fun not to be rejected. And also, you start feeling a little crazy when you’re rejected for years and years and years, because you keep at it despite the world telling you to please stop.
Brad Listi: I know that feeling. You do question your sanity. You go, am I crazy for having spent years of my life at this? And then to have somebody say yes is such a relief.
Hernan Diaz: It is a relief. It is a relief because you do feel slightly insane or very insane. To this day, sometimes I will send stories out and they are still rejected. This time through my agent, which is much nicer. But I think it’s a good thing that there’s still stories that are rejected. Maybe they’re just rejected because they suck. That is most likely the reason.
But also it could be that they’re pushing against something and they feel, hopefully, weird and inadequate in ways that I hope to keep alive as a writer. Not writing the thing that is expected and that is streamlined to go straight into print. I hope to be rejected to some extent in the future still, because that means I’m trying to do something new. And that’s something that I try to keep alive for myself.
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award, Hernan Diaz’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He has published stories and essays in The Paris Review, Granta, Playboy, The Yale Review, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. His first novel, In the Distance, was the winner of the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the New American Voices Award, among other distinctions. It was also a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of the Year and one of Lit Hub’s 20 Best Novels of the Decade. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Ingmar Bergman Estate. He holds a PhD from NYU, edits an academic journal at Columbia University, and is also the author of Borges, between History and Eternity.