An Interview with Bret Easton Ellis

03 June 2016

On its first publication Bret Easton Ellis's novel American Psycho was met with a mix of disgust and high praise. Now, twenty-five years on, Ellis' bleak, bitter, black comedy is considered a cult classic. 

We spoke to Bateman's creator on his childhood, reading habits, and current obsessions.

What was the last thing you wrote in your notebook?

I outlined what I was going to say in an email to a friend.

Where in the world do you find yourself returning to and why?

The desert, Palm Springs, the heat, in August, the off season. Calming and clears the mind.

What are you currently obsessed with?

The British actor Jack O'Connell.

Which writing do you find yourself returning to?

Anything by Joan Didion. The film criticism of Pauline Kael.

Send us a picture of yourself at the time American Psycho was published [it's the picture at the top of the post]. What was that year like?

Problematic, scary, a bit lost. Don't understand why I look so confident there.

What's your favorite children's book?

James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.

Print or ebook?

Print for fiction. Ebook for nonfiction.

What's your strongest childhood memory?

I was five. Wearing a black turtleneck, staring at my classmates in the playground, my arms crossed, my jaw set. It was raining.

Tell us the first thing you do in the morning.

Check my iPhone for time, messages, news.

Favourite book?

Always? Sentimental Education by Flaubert. Lately? The New Biographical Dictionary of Film by David Thomson.

One book you wish you had written.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.

What continues to inspire you?


What advice would you give your 15 or 20 year old self?

Chill out. Don't stress so much. On the other hand I often feel that I NOW need advice from that 15 or 20 year old self.

What's the worst job you've had?

Four years on a movie that completely falls apart.

American Psycho

American Psycho

Patrick Bateman has it all: good looks, youth, charm, a job on Wall Street, reservations at every new restaurant in town and a line of girls around the block.

He is also a psychopath. A man addicted to his superficial, perfect life, he pulls us into a dark underworld where the American Dream becomes a nightmare... 

The Picador Classic edition includes an introduction from Irvine Welsh. 

Read extract  

Photograph of Bret Easton Ellis © Ian Gittler.

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