JAMES MCCLOSKEY is an author and co-founder of the Street to Home Initiative.
Julian Barnes is the author of ten novels and two books of short stories and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including two Booker Prize nominations. His most recent collection of short stories is The Lemon Table. James McCloskey recently spoke to him for The Brooklyn Rail.
When I first came to New York from Sydneythis was in 1990I imagined MFA programs were a bit of a scam.
Well, like most writers I love to read, and so Im a book lover. My parents were good to me, but the area where they were really generous to me was books. Everything else was secondhand: secondhand bicycle, secondhand ice skates, secondhand soccer cleats. Which is no big deal, but with books for some reason I was given carte blanche.
Mr. Ford asks me to meet him for coffee early on a Saturday morning in late September in the lobby of his midtown hotel. When I arrive, Im initially surprised by the modernity, the sleekness of the décor: mirrored tables and high straight backed chairs, and Japanese fighting fish in bowls on shelves above the couches.