Vollmann interview about Sarajevo, astrolabes and the importance of literacy


Originally published in The Fanzine, March 18, 2006

William Vollmann has written many, many books, with most of them clocking in at around 1,000 pages. He recently won the National Book Critics Award for Europe Central, a series of linked short stories dealing with the World War II conflict between Germany and Russia. His 3,500+ page epic examination of the history and motives of violence, Rising Up and Rising Down, was published unabridged by McSweeney’s in 2003. His signature topics include crack, prostitution and the European conquest/slaughter of North America, as well as his own feats of journalistic derring-do in the world’s most heinous war zones. Vollmann has lived briefly at the magnetic north pole, interviewed opium warlords in southeast Asia and spent time with white supremacists and militant animal rights activists. His most recent book, Uncentering the Earth, examines the social impact following Copernicus’ discovery that the earth was not the center of the universe. It is a story of the complexities and imperfections of the natural world butting heads with the elegance of ideology. I spoke with him over the telephone from his home in suburban Sacramento.

Read the complete interview at The Fanzine.

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