Erskine Caldwell was an American novelist whose works about the lives  of poor Southerners, esp. the works for which he is most famous, namely  his novels Tobacco Road (1932) and God’s Little Acre (1933), made quite a splash in the US in the ’30s…
"I was not a writer to begin with; I was a listener. In those early  decades of the century, reading and writing were not common experiences.  Oral storytelling was the basis of fiction. You learned by listening  around the store, around the gin, the icehouse, the wood yard, or  wherever people congregated and had nothing to do. You would listen for  the extraordinary, the unusual; the people knew how to tell stories  orally in such a way that they could make the smallest incident, the  most far-fetched idea, into something extraordinarily interesting. It  could be just a rooster crowing at a certain time of night or morning.  It’s a mysterious thing. Many Southern writers must have learned the art  of storytelling from listening to oral tales. I did. It gave me the  knowledge that the simplest incident can make a story." E.C. - The Paris Review Interview, The Art of Fiction No. 62
Photo: Carl Van Vechten, 1934 (The Beinecke)

Erskine Caldwell was an American novelist whose works about the lives of poor Southerners, esp. the works for which he is most famous, namely his novels Tobacco Road (1932) and God’s Little Acre (1933), made quite a splash in the US in the ’30s…

"I was not a writer to begin with; I was a listener. In those early decades of the century, reading and writing were not common experiences. Oral storytelling was the basis of fiction. You learned by listening around the store, around the gin, the icehouse, the wood yard, or wherever people congregated and had nothing to do. You would listen for the extraordinary, the unusual; the people knew how to tell stories orally in such a way that they could make the smallest incident, the most far-fetched idea, into something extraordinarily interesting. It could be just a rooster crowing at a certain time of night or morning. It’s a mysterious thing. Many Southern writers must have learned the art of storytelling from listening to oral tales. I did. It gave me the knowledge that the simplest incident can make a story." E.C. - The Paris Review Interview, The Art of Fiction No. 62

Photo: Carl Van Vechten, 1934 (The Beinecke)

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    Erskine Caldwell - Photo: Carl Van Vechten, 1934
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    Erskine Caldwell was an American novelist whose works about the lives of poor Southerners, esp. the works for which he...
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