Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I am never more comfortable or at ease than when I am working with words and ideas; it's the most natural place in the world for me and when I discovered this, at age 23, my life settled on a new, happier, more satisfying course.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? Feel free to just let it out, unhindered, bad as it is, as incoherent as it is, knowing that you can fix it later.

What is your favorite time to write? As early in the morning as I can get up. 'Normally" early most days, but with a really intractable writing problem, earlier still.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Read The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White. Eliminate adverbs. Read your work out loud; observe when your interest or attention flags. If, in the research, you find yourself bored, learn more.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? It's still a big world out there.

Robert Kanigel's Hearing Homer's Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman Parry is out April 26 with Knopf.