“I decided to write, or perish. It was like starting life from scratch.”

James Salter is a novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. He grew up in New York City and was a career officer and air force pilot until his mid-thirties, when the success of his first novel (The Hunters) led to a fulltime writing career. Salter’s potent, lyrical prose has earned him acclaim from critics, readers, and fellow novelists. His novel A Sport and a Pastime was hailed by the New York Times as “nearly perfect as any American fiction.”

In this video, Salter speaks about his unforgettable experience of taking off alone in the pursuit of writing: “You suddenly feel a pair of wings on you. . . .”