Writing that Inspires

What obsessions do you have? What kind of stories do you recount around your dinner table? What books are currently sitting on your bedside table?

In this far-reaching and insightful interview with best-selling authors Nick Hornby and Susan Orlean, we hear the stories that inspire these great writers to put pen to paper.

“Writing that Inspires” is the theme of the 2024 Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. The inspiration behind the works of Hornby and Orlean ranges from the mundane (eavesdropping on a conversation on a bus) to the fascinating (the unsolved mystery of the catastrophic Los Angeles Public Library fire of 1986).

Hornby, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and author of the best-selling novels “High Fidelity” and “About A Boy,” is known for his dialogue.

“I am really nosy,” says Hornby, who lives in England. “If I’ve got headphones on, on the top of a bus, and I can see there’s something going on between two people, then I’ll turn the music off and keep the headphones in, so it looks like I’m not listening.”

Orlean’s books, including “The Orchid Thief,” “The Library Book,” and “Rin Tin Tin,” are known for their vivid details.

“I feel the reader has to instantly get it—to be able to see what I’m saying,” says Orlean.

In “The Library Book,” she says she spent a huge amount of time crafting her description of the fire, which she saw as an animate thing that raced through the Los Angeles library, burning for 7 hours and devouring 400,000 books.

“It glowered angrily, feeding itself book after book, a monster snacking on chips.”

Hornby is working with Orlean on adapting “Rin Tin Tin” for film.

Don’t miss this fun and engaging conversation hosted by Dean Nelson, recorded at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Watch A Conversation with Nick Hornby and Susan Orlean.