Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Want to Write Like Tolstoy? Author Richard Cohen Offers Up a Few Tips

December 3rd, 2016
Calling All Authors

Richard Cohen’s friends used to call him “Smorgasbord” because he wanted to try everything. And he did. Cohen’s achievements so far are both daunting and diverse.

Cohen is a top New York City editor with books he’s edited going on to win the Pulitzer, Booker and Whitbread/Costa prizes. More than twenty have been number one bestsellers.  He’s written several books, including Chasing the SunBy the Sword and most recently, How to Write Like Tolstoy. He has also  written for the New York Times, the Guardian, the Observer, the Daily Telegraph, the New York Times Book Review, as well as having appeared on BBC Radio and television.


Cohen is a five times UK national saber champion,  fenced in the Olympics  in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984, appeared in To Die Another Day and, just for kicks, plays the cello.

I spoke to Cohen about how inadequate he makes me feel. Just kidding. We talked about his latest book and how his other life pursuits complement his writing. Here’s my interview with Cohen in 26, to inspire a greater love of words.

For those of you in New York, you can hear Cohen in the flesh this Tuesday, December 6th at literary cabaret, House of SpeakEasy on Lafayette Street where he will be joined by Man Booker prize winner Paul Beatty, memoirist and chef Gabrielle Hamilton, and novelist and National Book Award nominee Lydia Millet.  And for those in London Cohen will be giving a talk a week later on rhythm in prose writing at Kingston University. The talk will take place in JG2011 from 1.00-2.00pm on Tuesday, 13th December. All are welcome. No booking necessary.

Got to dash – my saber coach is waiting.

December, 2016

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