“Why Do We Write Today?”

Why do we write today? I do not write to entertain. I do not write to amuse. I come from a tradition which believes in the written word very much. I believe that words are dangerous and can be made into dangerous tools. I believe that words can become links too. It all depends [on] what you do with them. As another writer before my time, the King Solomon, would say, . . . “Life and death is really in what you say.” And we in our generation, more than all the others before, knew how true that was, that life and death are actually related to the word. To language.

Excerpted from a 1972 lecture given by Elie Wiesel at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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