Peter Bognanni

recorded in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN


Peter Bognanni

My name is Peter Bognanni, I currently live in the Twin Cities, but I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Knox Writers’ House

Do you think there’s a Midwestern voice?


A Midwestern voice. I think I would probably be more likely to say that there’s a certain kind of Midwest sensibility to fiction. I think voice really differs a lot and I’ve probably never been able to pin down that many Midwestern writers that I feel like are writing in a very similar way, in terms of voice. But I do think there is a quality to Midwest fiction that is very different especially from something like New York. I read so many books growing up that were set in New York I almost feel like I’ve lived there. And there’s a way in which that starts to stand in for America or the country in a larger way just because so many books come from there and so many books are written about that place. I like that fact that when I read a book that’s set in the Midwest that there’s this definite sense that’s in opposition to that. And to me, it reads more like the way, especially coming from Iowa, the way most people I know have lived. You know, how many people can really identify with the way somebody lives in Manhattan? But when you’re in the Midwest, that really, to me, seems maybe much closer to the pulse of the average person. There’s a lot of cities out there that aren’t New York [laughs]. Des Moines was one of those. And I always feel compelled to write about Iowa, I guess just because I know it.

from Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth


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