NEW YORK (AP) ― Philip Roth, one of the world’s eminent men of letters, is apparently confused about the meaning of the word “retirement.”
All it took to upend his latest farewell was an invitation from Stephen Colbert.
Comedy Central spokesman Steve Albani told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the celebrated novelist has agreed to an “extended interview” in July for the cOlbert Book Club.
The 81-year-old Roth has more than once announced he has given his last interview and over the past two weeks has insisted he’s done with making public appearances. One promise to quit has been kept: He hasn’t released a new book since 2010.
Known for such works as “Portnoy’s Complaint” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “American Pastoral,” Roth has rarely appeared on television and Colbert may not seem the most obvious candidate to lure him to the small screen.
But the comedian and heir to David Letterman on CBS’ “Late Show” is widely respected in the literary community. He has been among the most popular speakers at BookExpo America, publishing’s annual national convention, and his many author interviews include a hilarious talk with Maurice Sendak that aired in 2012.
Colbert’s book club, the name spelled with an Oprah-esque capital O, has included segments on Ernest Hemingway and J.D. Salinger.
According to Albani, the entire episode will be dedicated to Roth, whom he called an “iconic author.”