Dear Wizard is a carefully selected, highly crafted gathering of letters from over three decades of correspondence between authors Nicholas Delbanco and Jon Manchip White. This correspondence, in part a contest to outdo one another with exotic and outlandish letterhead, ranges in tone from carefree to grave and covers topics as diverse as the art and practice of writing, the state of the writer’s profession, and age, illness, love, and loss.
“In a hectic world of terse emails and gnomic texts, this bumper collection of actual letters—a paper archive, that vanished art-form—is a marvel. It is marvelous in other ways too, a detailed account of thirty-five years in the lives of two highly literate and hard-working men, reflecting on their projects, their plans, their dreams, their travel, their writing, their reading—and on family, too. The glow of friendship that illuminates the letters makes them both a pleasure and an enlightenment.”
—Paul Theroux, author of The Mosquito Coast, The Great Railway Bazaar, Saint Jack and dozens of other books of fiction and nonfiction
“The letters of two writers as prolific and serious and entertaining and able as White and Delbanco make this book extremely valuable for aesthetic, biographical, and cultural reasons. Writers and students of literature should find it quite seriously instructive, in the way that the letters between James Wright and Leslie Marmon Silko have been, or the recently published correspondence between novelist James Salter and young writer Robert Phelps.”
—Alan Cheuse, book reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered and author of To Catch the Lightning, Song of Slaves in the Desert, and several other novels and short story collections
“This collection will doubtless be fascinating to writers, but these strike me as more than ‘mere’ literary lives. They're twentieth century lives as experienced by individuals who engaged thoroughly and deeply with their times. I'd warrant they'll reward any reader who shared some of those times and enjoys the company of a pair of adventurous storytellers.”
—Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl and Equal Love: Stories
Cover photograph: Two letters between Nicholas Delbanco and Jon Manchip White.