Author Philip Roth says ‘Goodbye’ to writing

Seminal American novelist Philip Roth, one of the world's most revered authors, is retiring from writing, his publisher Houghton Mifflin said on Friday.

The "American Pastoral" author slipped his retirement announcement under the radar in an interview with French magazine Les Inrocks last month.

"To tell you the truth, I'm done," Roth was quoted as telling the magazine. " 'Nemesis' will be my last book," he said of his 2010 short novel.

"He told me it was true," Lori Glazer, Houghton Mifflin's vice president and executive director of publicity, told Reuters on Friday.

Roth, 79, whose most famous works include "Goodbye, Columbus" and the sexually-explicit "Portnoy's Complaint," has never won the Nobel Prize for Literature despite his name often coming up as a leading contender for the award.

He is the author of more than 25 novels in a career spanning more than 50 years. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel "American Pastoral" and two National Book Awards.

But Roth told Les Inrocks that he had always found writing difficult and wanted nothing more to do with reading, writing or talking about books.

He said that at the age of 74, he started re-reading all his favorite novels by authors including Ernest Hemingway, Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and then re-read all his own novels

"I wanted to see whether I had wasted my time writing," he explained.

"After that, I decided that I was done with fiction. I no longer want to read, to write, I don't even want to talk about it anymore," he was quoted as saying.

"I have dedicated my life to the novel: I studied, I taught, I wrote, I read - to the exclusion of almost everything else. Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced all my life. The idea of trying to write again is impossible," Roth told the French magazine.

The New Jersey-born novelist is best known for his semi-autobiographical and unreliable narrator Nathan Zuckerman.

The novella "Goodbye, Columbus" catapulted Roth onto the American literary scene in 1959 with its satirical depiction of class and religion in American life.

Published along with five other short stories, "Goodbye, Columbus" won the National Book Award in 1960 - an award he would go on to win again in 1995 with the novel "Sabbath's Theater."

(Reporting By Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles, Editing by Jill Serjeant, Jan Paschal and Claudia Parsons)