- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Theater, Writing

Edward Albee on Writing, Plays, Democracy, and More.


Happy birthday, Edward Albee! Here are some quotes from his plays, interviews, etc.:


“People don’t know anything about themselves. They shouldn’t write about themselves.”


“Do you know what a playwright is? A playwright is someone who lets his guts hang out on the stage.”


“One must let the play happen to one; one must let the mind loose to respond as it will, to receive impressions, to sense rather than know, to gather rather than immediately understand.”


“Sometimes a person has to go a very long distance out of his way to come back a short distance correctly.”


“A play is fiction—and fiction is fact distilled into truth.”


“I’m not suggesting that the play is without fault; all of my plays are imperfect, I’m rather happy to say—it leaves me something to do.”


“Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it. A good writer turns fact into truth; a bad writer will, more often than not, accomplish the opposite.”


“Remember one thing about democracy. We can have anything we want and at the same time, we always end up with exactly what we deserve.”


“You find very few critics who approach their job with a combination of information and enthusiasm and humility that makes for a good critic. But there is nothing wrong with critics as long as people don’t pay any attention to them.”


“We all insist—hope?—that we haven’t written our best works yet, and we all harbour deep, almost religious faith, in our most dismissed or despised efforts.”


“I find that when my plays are going well, they seem to resemble pieces of music.”


“All plays, if they’re any good, are constructed as correctives. That’s the job of the writer. Holding that mirror up to people. We’re not merely decorative, pleasant, and safe.”



  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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