T.C. Boyle

T.C. Boyle is a Southern California-based fiction writer.

Selected Works:

When the Killing's Done, Wild Child, The Women, The Human Fly, The Tortilla Curtain, East Is East, Descent of Man


Recipient of the 1988 PEN/Faulkner award (World's End) and the Prix Médicis Étranger for best foreign novel in France (The Tortilla Curtain, 1997).

Visit Author Website

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

Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat, and The Collected Stories of John Cheever. Miller's heart-wrenching play gives insight into our society's obsession with commercial/monetary success. The Steinbeck book represents the opposite pole, in this hilarious and utterly charming novel about a group of "paisanos" in Monterey who live only for the pleasure of the moment. Finally, Cheever's stories not only provide a unique insight into his generation of Americans but also deal with their bruised aspirations and the malaise of a consumer society.

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 mother taught me to read, as I was too hyperactive to get by very well in class. The earliest books I remember were animal books, such as those by Albert Payson Terhune, Jack London and the like. And then there was my eighth-grade English teacher, Donald Grant, who read some of the hair-raising chestnuts aloud to us, stories like "To Build a Fire," "The Most Dangerous Game" and "The Monkey's Paw."

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?

The foreign authors who were hugely important to me when I first began to write were Garcia-Márquez, Borges, Cortázar, Günter Grass, Beckett, Genet, Ionesco, Gide, Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley Amis and a host of others too numerous to name here.

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