Winter 1995 • Vol. XVII No. 1 Interview |

The City, the Waterworks, and Writing: An Interview with E. L. Doctorow

The author of nine novels—Welcome to Hard Times, Big as Life, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, Lives of the Poets, World's Fair, Billy Bathgate, and The Waterworks, as well as a play, Drinks Before Dinner, and a collection of essays, Hemingway, Poe and the Constitution—E. L. Doctorow grew up in New York City and was educated at Kenyon College and Columbia University. A recipient of the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Arts and Letters Award, and the National Book Award among others, Doctorow teaches creative writing at New York University. MT:   I've been intrigued by your choices to set so many of your novels—The Book of Daniel, Lives of the Poets, World's Fair, Billy Bathgate and now The Waterworks—in New York City. How do you think being a New Yorker who has lived in the City for most of your life has affected your writing, your outlook in general? ELD:   It was a very fortunate thing for someone who was going to be a

Already have an account? Log in

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Kenyon Review logo
E.L. Doctorow (1931-2015) was the author of several novels, including City of God, Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, and The March. Among the honors he received are the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howells Medal of the Academy of Arts and Letters, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.