Reading Matters

Styron on Writing: ‘I had a calling’

William Styron
William Styron Signature Reads

Duke and Davidson alum William Styron, author of “Lie Down in Darkness,” “The Confessions of Nat Turner,” and “Sophie’s Choice,” talks in a 1994 interview about becoming a writer.

“I cast my lot as a writer early on because I had no alternative. I had a calling. What priests call a vocation in the Catholic priesthood. There’s this notion that God calls you to this, and that you can’t do anything else. I early understood I had no alternative. That I couldn’t become anything else. Not only beause I was ill-equipped, but because I had no inclination. I wanted to be a writer and nothing else. The die was cast. My first novel was indeed quite successful. And I realized this is what I had to do with the rest of my life. So that’s where I’ve been. I’ve never been totally satisfied wtih myself as a writer. On the other hand, I feel glad I have done what I have done.”