Terry Farish

Elizabeth Farish

Terry Farish has been writing about refugees and immigrants for many years, informed by her early work for the Red Cross in Vietnam. She is also the author of Either the Beginning or the End of the World, and she lives in Kittery, Maine.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

Dog stories! I couldn’t have a dog and Beautiful Joe, Old Yeller, Lad, a Dog were my companions. Dogs were closely followed by pigs including Wilbur, and I still adore pigs. I’m reading a book I gave my mother and my daughter and am finally allowing myself to read, Sy Montgomery’s The Good Good Pig. I loved these dogs and pigs as a child. I think I sometimes find my most genuine self in relationship with animals and am able to communicate with people better through them. Sofie, in Either the Beginning or the End of the World, has a rescue dog named Pilot who is a lot like my pointer mix, Clara.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

I have my mother’s journals she wrote when she was a girl. Her journals are composed of lines that must have given solace or made her laugh. I don’t keep a journal like hers. But I have favorite lines in every book I read. Here’s one from Annie Dillard: “…I know why the child loves Francis Burn. It is because he is the one to whom she has chosen to give her love. But why were we given this fierce love? It beats me. I, too, love one.”

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Three of my million favorite authors: Ernest Hemmingway, Paula Fox, Brock Cole

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

Writing is the thing I love most in the world to do. It’s kind of like Annie Dillard’s words I quoted above. She asks why we are given our “fierce love.” No one knows. Writing is a way for me to try to make sense of something completely beyond my grasp. Writing is a way to immerse myself in worlds unlike my own. Stories save me time and again.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Hello, writers! First, write for what the process gives to you. Maybe it makes you aware of the wider world and the smallest things in daily life. Experience the world. Try not to judge, but be curious. Find writers you love and learn from them all of your life.