Ehud Havazelet is the author of the story collections What is it Then Between Us (1989) and Like Never Before (1998), as well as the novel Bearing the Body (2007). He teaches creative writing at the University of Oregon and holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. What is it Then Between Us won the California Book Award and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award in 1988, and its titular story received a Pushcart Prize in the same year. Havazelet earned his first Oregon Book Award for Like Never Before and his second – the Oregon Book Awards’ Ken Kesey Award for Fiction – for Bearing the Body, which was also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He is a former Stanford University Wallace Stegner Fellow (1985-1989), the recipient of two Oregon Literary Arts Fellowships (1990 and 1994), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (2000), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2001). In 2011, his story “Gurov in Manhattan” was selected for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories anthology. Havazelet’s work has been translated into seven languages.
Two nuns and a penguin approach you at a bar, and you tell them you’re a writer. When they ask you what you write about, how do you answer?
Penguins, mostly, and nuns. Almost always in a bar.
Points is primarily a blog for alcohol and drug historians. What do you think this audience would find most interesting about your work?
Not certain what a “drug and alcohol historian” is. I wouldn’t say a reader primarily interested in drug use as a topic in itself would be happy with my work. It’s not revelry like you might claim for Hunter Thompson or Kerouac or Burroughs (not much revelry in the last, I’d say) or, earlier, Huxley. I use drugs in my work when I think the characters I’m trying to create would use them, usually as a mode of anodyne or escape.