Lauren Groff On Her Writing Process

How Lauren Groff, One of ‘Our Finest Living Writers,’ Does Her Work

Groff works on several novels at once, composes in longhand, and wrote a draft of her new book, “The Vaster Wilds,” in iambic pentameter “just for fun.”

By Elizabeth A. Harris

Lauren Groff, the three-time National Book Award finalist, was marching through the woods of New Hampshire, her pants stuffed into her socks to keep out the ticks. Two muddy dogs jogged ahead of her and a reporter trotted along behind.

The outing was unusual for an author interview — and, given the pace of the hike, not an insignificant amount of exercise. Typically, these conversations take place over coffee or lunch, at a publisher’s office or maybe in a writer’s living room. But Groff had chosen something different: a five-mile hike through the woods and a swim in a pond, followed by a lunch of chickpea salad and a beet slaw with pistachio butter, all of which she made herself.

A former college athlete who still runs, swims and plays tennis regularly, Groff, 45, has a physicality about her that is central to how she lives and writes. That attention to the body is also central to her newest novel, “The Vaster Wilds,” in which a young woman escapes from Jamestown, Va. in the 17th century, and tries to survive on her own in the wilderness.

“In Lauren, the intellectual and the physical work together in her writing process — her body is involved,” said Sarah McGrath, her editor at Riverhead Books. “You can see that in this book in particular.” Read the full piece at the New York Times.

© Literary Affairs, 2005-2024. All Rights Reserved.