Episode 16: Oscar Winner and Novelist Graham Moore
I was so pleased to have a conversation with one of the most exciting young writers, Graham Moore, author of the new historical novel The Last Days of Night. You probably remember his speech at the Oscars when he won for writing the screenplay for The Imitation Game, based on the life of Alan Turing. Moore’s stirring speech about his teenage depression, trying to hurt himself and his call to action to relentlessly pursue your passion become a viral video hit.
Graham’s new book tells the fascinating tale of the early days of electricity in America and the rivalry between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla that led all the way to the Supreme Court. I asked him about the book and why scientists and mathematicians inspire him. “They’re passionate, they’re driven, and they’re obsessive. They devote their lives to these subjects that the general public might think are arcane and I identify with that.”
I also asked him to give any advice for young writers and Moore stressed that writing many drafts is crucial to honing your craft. “I’m 34 and there’s no day where I wake up and say, ‘I know how to write!’ I meet a lot of young writers and they’re afraid of doing a lot of drafts. I’m on draft 12 of the screenplay right now. There will be 30 by the time I’m done.”
Moore also gave some insider tips in case you want to win an Oscar. “Your clock doesn’t start until you step to the podium, so if you need a moment to compose yourself on stage you can take the trophy, pause, then step up to the podium.”
For Washington friends, you may not know that Graham is the son of Susan Sher, former Chief of Staff for First Lady Michelle Obama.