Rick Moody

Rick Moody is a New York-based novelist, short story writer, essayist and composer.

Selected Works:

Garden State, The Ice Storm, The Four Fingers of Death, The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven


1991 Editor’s Choice Award from the Pushcart Press (Garden State), 1994 Aga Khan Award from The Paris Review (The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven), The NAMI/Ken Book Award and the PEN Martha Albrand Prize for Excellence in the Memoir (The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions)

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Which one or two American books or plays would you yourself recommend to the foreign leaders?

Moby Dick by Herman Melville and Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Who in your childhood–for example, parent or teacher—encouraged
 you to read books, and which one or two books do you remember most fondly?

My parents were very enthusiastic readers. Among the very worthy suggestions of my parents were: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, Moby Dick by Herman Melville and The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. These all turned out to be incredibly useful books for me. I can also attest to the importance, in childhood, of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

Which books by writers of the other G8 countries (Canada, France,
Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom) have been most
important to you as a writer?

So many that it's almost impossible to catalogue them. I have already
mentioned Lewis Carroll. From the U.K., there is also Sterne, Swift, Hogg, Peacock, Hardy, Woolf and many others. From France, André Breton's Nadje,  Artaud's The Theater and Its Double and Roland Barthes's A Lover’s Discourse. In order not to go on too long, I will also mention The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, The Divine Comedy, The Decameron, etc. Maybe that's enough!

What is the Power of the Word Exhibit?

Power of the Word: Leaders, Readers and Writers is the first online exhibition of The American Writers Museum. As world leaders gather in the U.S. this spring, The American Writers Museum Foundation is inviting American writers and readers to explore the power of the word and join in a discussion of how American books can help readers in other parts of the world better understand our culture.

Leaders Gallery

An exploration into what some of the world’s most powerful leaders like to read, and how reading has influenced them.

Writers Gallery

American writers comment on their early experiences with reading and name the books they think world leaders should read in order to better understand American culture.

Readers Gallery

An interactive, open forum where readers are invited to join the discussion by answering the question: Which American works of literature do you think leaders from other nations should read in order to gain a better understanding of America?

We would like to thank our exhibit sponsors for their generous support:


What is The American Writers Museum?

The mission of The American Writers Museum Foundation is to establish the first national museum in the United States dedicated to engaging the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives. Learn more at www.americanwritersmuseum.org