The Book That Changed My Life

Myron Levoy

Myron Levoy was honored as a 1980 National Book Award Finalist for Children's Books (Paperback) for Alan and Naomi.

Myron Levoy visits with students at Riverdale Neighborhood House as part of The National Book Foundation's Settlement House program, 1996.

Here are some of the books that influenced my writing life, and an event, not quite a book, that set me firmly on a writing career. I hope this will fit into The Book That Changed My Life section.

Arrowsmith, Sinclair Lewis
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
The Poorhouse Fair, John Updike
The Counterfeiters, Andre Gide

At sixteen, I had already written some poems and short stories, but that summer my somewhat adolescent desire to be a writer was fixed forever by a confrontation. I was working as a page at the main branch of the New York Public Library, retrieving books from the endless stacks for readers, and saw during a lunch break, an exhibit of the original hand written poems of Edward Arlington Robinson, and specifically, Miniver Cheevy. We had just read the poem in school that spring. Seeing the poem before me in "living" ink and paper, in that neat, tiny had, was for me an epiphany. Such power, an entire world, on that one small sheet! It was absolute and final: yes, I would be a writer above all else!

With best wishes,

Myron Levoy