Philip Roth: Unmasked

Writing is Invention/Invention is Writing

The writing process of Philip Roth: “I invent a character as I go along,” he says. “You must find everything about this man. Who he is, where he’s from, what he’s done, what his family is.”

Roth says, “There’s a journalistic side to writing novels,” in mixing real life with fiction. “You can’t invent off of nothing.”


American Masters explores the life and career of Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning novelist Philip Roth, often referred to as the greatest living American writer. Reclusive and diffident, Roth grants very few interviews, but for the first time, allowed a journalist to spend 10 days interviewing him on camera. The result is Philip Roth: Unmasked, a 90-minute documentary that features Roth freely discussing very intimate aspects of his life and art as he has never done before.