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Steven Millhauser

Website:Steven Millhauser on Wikipedia

Stephen Millhauser is the author of five previous collections of short stories and five novels, including the Pulitzer Prize winning Martin Dressler. His story Eisenheim the Illusionist, from his collection The Barnum Museum, was the basis for the 2006 film The Illusionist. Millhauser lives in Sarasota Springs, New York, and teaches at Skidmore College.

Short story collections

Dangerous Laughter: 13 Stories (Alfred A. Knopf, Feb 2008) 

Reviewed by Stevan Allred

The Knife Thrower and Other Stories (1998) 

The Barnum Museum (1990) 

In the Penny Arcade: Stories (1985) 

Interview with Steven Millhauser

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Steven Millhauser: I wrote the stories over a period of nine years. But I didn’t write only those stories -- during that period I also wrote four long novellas.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

SM: When I write a story, I write only that story and think about nothing else. Gradually, stories accumulate. I begin to imagine a collection. It happens near the end.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

SM: At the time I began imagining a collection, I noticed that certain stories formed natural groups. I enjoyed putting kindred stories together and giving titles to the groups.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

SM:  For me, a story is a waking dream that I write down.

TSR: Do you have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?

SM: When I write, I think only about the story itself, what it needs, what its ideal shape must be. Later, when it’s all over, I might think about a reader. I might think: “Would anyone in his right mind want to read something like this?”

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your
collection, anything at all?

SM: Yes. What can’t you get out of your mind? What haunts you?

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your books?

SM: People are buying my books? Please inform my publisher immediately.

TSR: What are you working on now?

SM:I can’t seem to stop writing stories.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

SM: The new Tobias Wolff collection; Nice Big American Baby, by Judy Budnitz; and The Collected Tales of Edward Owen Whitelaw.