Gordimer calls herself a "natural writer" and speaks about the influence that growing up in a South African mining town had on her writing. She responds to questions about voice, rhythm, audience, narrative techniques, and her composition process for the short story and the novel. Gordimer says that the short story taught her how important "getting to the essence of things" is to her writing. She also considers the effect of gender on her writing. "The language of politics vs. the language of art" is discussed as the distinction between nonfiction and fiction. The theme of betrayal in her latest collection is examined, as well as the political efficacy of literature to effect change in human rights issues, including apartheid. Gordimer calls her essays "the one thing I can do for my nation."