Interview with GEORGE POLLEY


George Polley is an author who was born and raised in Seattle. Now he lives in Sapporo, Japan. He has been writing professionally since 1968. He writes Children’s fiction and poetry.

His most recent work is Bear, a novel about a boy and his bear-like dog. Bear is big and loveable, and he scares people because he looks like a bear. Get to know him and you love him. Bear solves the mystery of a giant rat infestation, catches a home invader, and protects his family  

Polley uses a variety of sources for his inspiration. “Sometimes it’s a dream (The Old Man and The Monkey), sometimes an incident (Grandfather and The Raven), sometimes it's an intriguing character (Bear), sometimes the experience of living in a new city, and sometimes it's an incident such as the firebombing of Tokyo in March, 1945 (my short story "Seiji"), or just an idea or a desire to try something new. My poetry happens the same way, sometimes very spur-of-the-moment.”

Polley does name “Keeping the story interesting” as a challenge he faces in writing. “If it's interesting to me, then it usually is to readers; if I'm bored with it, then I'd best set it aside and totally rewrite it or dump it.” He says, regarding challenges, “I love challenges, even when they challenge me. :-)”

Polley’s favorite authors change with the times. “Years ago, it was Nikos Kazantzakis because of the strength of his characters and the power of his imagery. More recently, it's been Haruki Murakami for his ability to tell fascinating, multilayered stories that bring me back again and again. The Brazilian, Jorge Amado, for the same reason. Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Carlos Fuentes because of their story telling and magic realism. As you can see, there are many writers who have influenced me, including Rabindranath Tagore, who was an enormous influence when I was a college undergrad.

He offers some excellent advice for new or reluctant writers. “Get around writers, attend readings, ask them questions, and listen to what they have to say. This was crucially important to me in the beginning and early on. Read as widely as possible, and write. Write knowing it won't be good at first, keep on writing, learn to revise, share your writing with others (a writing group is a great place, where other members share their writing), keep writing and sharing and sending your writing out to magazines, publishers (I found my publisher after posting several things on an online magazine he happened to be involved with), and keep going.”

We can find more about George Polley and his work at: