- Nothing I wrote in the thirties saved one Jew from Auschwitz. 1907–73 English poet: attributed
- The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one…If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.
Paris Review Spring 1956 1897–1962 American novelist: in
- I am convinced more and more day by day that fine writing is next to fine doing the top thing in the world. 1795–1821 English poet: letter to J. H. Reynolds, 24 August 1819
- I've used my talents as a writer to enable the Ogoni people to confront their tormentors. I was not able to do it as a politician or a businessman. My writing did it…I think I have the moral victory. 1941–95 Nigerian writer and environmentalist: letter, shortly before his execution in 1995, to William Boyd
- A writer must refuse, therefore, to allow himself to be transformed into an institution.
Les Écrits de Sartre (1970) 1905–80 French philosopher, novelist, dramatist, and critic: refusing the Nobel Prize at Stockholm, 22 October 1964; in M. Contat and M. Rybalka (eds.)
- For a country to have a great writer…is like having another government. That's why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.
The First Circle (1968) ch. 57, tr. M. Guybon 1918–2008 Russian novelist:
- There are various forms of production: artillery, automobiles, lorries. You also produce ‘commodities’, ‘works’, ‘products’. Such things are highly necessary. Engineering things. For people's souls. ‘Products’ are highly necessary too. ‘Products’ are very important for people's souls. You are engineers of human souls.
Gorky's house, 26 October 1932; see Gorky, Kennedy 1879–1953 Soviet dictator: speech to writers at
describing the question all interviewers ask him, and his answer:‘Why do you write these strong female characters?’ ‘Because you're still asking me that question’. 1964– American screenwriter: accepting an award from Equality Now, 15 May 2006
- Did that play of mine send out
Certain men the English shot?
1865–1939 Irish poet: ‘The Man and the Echo’ (1939)