Irwin Shaw (1913-1984), American playwright, screen-writer, novelist and short story author, has left us some of the most pertinent, serviceable and truthful thoughts on writing and the writing life.

“All writers are the same. They forget a thousand good reviews and remember one bad one.”

“A writer has to live with a sense of honor.”

“Writing is like a contact sport like football. You can get hurt but you enjoy it.”

“The last paragraph in which you tell what the story is about, is almost always best left out.”

“No writer need feel sorry for himself if he writes and enjoys it, even if he doesn’t get paid.”

Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff, born in New York City’s the Bronx, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, is probably best known for his novels The Young Lions (1948), based on his experiences as a warrant officer during the second world war, and Rich Man Poor Man (1970), which follows three siblings after the war.

The Young Lions was made into a film with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift and Rich Man Poor Man became a mini series staring Nick Nolte. Shaw also wrote the screen play for Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms. He won two O’Henry Awards and his short stories appeared in Colliers, Esquire, The New Yorker, and the Saturday Evening Post among others. Sixty-three of his best were reprinted in 2000 in the collection Short Stories: Five Decades.

Shaw was blacklisted under McCarthyism and moved to Europe where he died in Davos, Switzerland in 1984.

  1. PassAire@aol.com says:

    Interesting, not aware of this playwright.


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