Long Litt Woon

How did you become a writer?

I became a writer by accident. My book "The Way Through The Woods. On Mushrooms and Mourning" (Spiegel & Grau/Penguin Random House, 2019) was written after my husband passed away suddenly. I was in deep mourning and by chance, joined a beginners' course in mushrooming. That turned out to be what "saved" me in my time of need. So, I went on to write about my two journeys: the first being my discovery of the fascinating Kingdom of Fungi and my meeting with the strange tribe of Mushroom Pickers (I am an anthropologist) and the second being my wanderings in the landscape of grief. And about how these two journeys are intertwined.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

Perhaps I need to start with my late father who was very conscious about getting us kids to learn to LOVE reading, and who taught me to read in the first place. I was a voracious reader in my younger days. Some writers were favorites and I read all I could get hold of. Thomas Hardy, D.H.Lawrence and Isaac B. Singer were some of these. More contemporary writers I have read many works by are Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan. 

When and where do you write?

I am privileged in that I am a full time writer so I can write everyday. And I do. I write at home. 

What are you working on now?

The difficult book number TWO.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

What is that?

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Keep writing. It is like brushing your teeth. Just do it. And not wait for "inspiration".

What’s your advice to new writers?

See above.

Bio: Born 1958 in Malaysia. Anthropologist. Live in Oslo, Norway in the summertime and in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the winter.