The Sunday Magazine

Journalism is the foundation of fiction, said the late Tom Wolfe

Two decades ago, Michael talked to the novelist, journalist and trenchant observer of American life, Tom Wolfe, who died this week. They talk about “the new journalism”, the depression that can follow a heart-attack, and that famous white (sorry, cream) suit.
Author Tom Wolfe pictured in his signature suit in 1980 (left) and at a book signing in Barcelona in 2013 (right). (Evening Standard/Getty Images, LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

"I'm convinced that, in this day and age more than ever, a novelist must first be a journalist," Tom Wolfe said in 1998.

The prolific writer died on Monday in a New York Hospital. He was 88.

Two decades ago, Wolfe came to the CBC in Toronto to promote his novel, A Man in Full. In this excerpt of his conversation with Michael Enright, he challenges his critics, he reveals his struggle with depression, and he elaborates on his conviction that good reporting is at the heart of all good fiction.

Click 'listen' at the top of the page to hear Michael's conversation with Tom Wolfe from 1998.