San Francisco from Herbert Gold's window
The Bay Bridge as seen from Herbert's North Beach window.

A collage from Herbert's time in Haiti. He says he fell in love with the country while working there and has returned often.
Herbert Gold and George Mason inteview
The interview begins.

"Prospect, Jackpot, Daughter, Happy Problems, West Side, Young Prince . . . AND the Bones of My Critics." (file drawer tags)
Herbert Gold's office
Herbert writes at his typewriter here in his office, and in North Beach coffee shops on yellow legal pads.
Hatian art / Herbert Gold
Herbert's flat is filled with colorful Hatian artwork.

A niche in the tiny living room.
Herbert Gold, William Saroyan
Herbert is center, his good friend William Saroyan is on the right with his hand outstretched. The other two gentlemen are unidentified. This looks like the street outside Herbert's flat—very steep.

From a walk down the hall, which is filled with art and photos.

A drawing celebrating the 40th birthday of San Francisco gallerist Martin Muller in 1993.

It is hard to believe that Herbert Gold is 91 years old. The street that he lives on is an alp. The stairs that one must trod to his flat are narrow and steep. But when you arrive, (slightly out of breath) you find a handsome man with a twinkle in his eye and a tale on his lips.

For nearly seventy years, Herbert Gold has spun his stories in novels, essays, magazines, and in the coffee shops and bistros of his adopted hometown and the original birthplace of the American Bohemians, San Francisco.

As he tells us here, Gold got an early start as a writer, on a masterpiece about earthworms he wrote in 5th grade. Years later, at the advanced age of 17, his poetry was published in several New York literary magazines, followed ten years later with his first novel. He has since written over 30 books.

Between high school and college, Gold hitchhiked across America. In this interview with us he tells about being “picked up” by Anais Nin, and his budding relationships and lifelong friendships with the revolutionary Beat movement and its noted pioneers like Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Neil Cassady, Ken Kesey, Larry McMurtry and others – most of whom he went to Columbia University with. He also educates us about the derivation of the word “Beatnik.”

Gold also shares tales of his efforts to support his growing family with his successful writing for Playboy magazine, and his friendship with Hef. In fact, in this interview Gold relishes in telling about one of his recent encounters with the legendary publisher that will ensure a laugh from you, the listener.

We’re honored this prolific writer took the time to meet and talk with us, and pleased we can share his stories with you.


Birth of a Hero - 1951
The Prospect Before Us - 1954
The Man Who Was Not With It - 1956
The Optimist - 1959

Therefore Be Bold - 1960
Love and Like (short stories) - 1960
The Age of Happy Problems (essays) - 1962
Salt - 1963
Fathers: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir - 1966
The Great American Jackpot - 1969
The Magic Will: Stories and Essays of a Decade - 1971
My Last Two Thousand Years (autobiography) - 1972
The Young Prince and the Magic Cone - 1973
Swiftie the Magician - 1974
Waiting for Cordelia - 1977
Slave Trade - 1979
He/She - 1980
A Walk on the West Side: California on the Brink (short stories) - 1981
True Love - 1982
Family - 1983
Mister White Eyes - 1984
Stories of Misbegotten Love (w/Don Asher) - 1985
A Girl of Forty - 1986
Lovers and Cohorts - 1986
Dreaming - 1988
Travels in San Francisco - 1990
Bohemia - 1994
She Took My Arm as if She Loved Me - 1997
Daughter Mine - 2000
Haiti: Best Nightmare on Earth - 2001
Still Alive! A Temporary Condition (memoir) - 2008

His work has appeared in Playboy, Harpers Bazaar, the New Yorker, the Hudson Review, the Columbia Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other magazines and newspapers.

Awards & Honors:

Fulbright Scholar at the Sorbonne, Paris - 1950
Inter-American Cultural Grant (Haiti) -1950
Hudson River Review Fellowship– 1956
Guggenheim Fellowship - 1957
Ohioana Book Award (The Man Who Was Not With It) - 1957
National Institute of Arts & Letters grant in literature - 1958
American Academy Grant - 1958
Longview Foundation Award - 1959
Ford Fellowship theater fellowship - 1960
California Literature Medal Award (Fathers)- 1968
Commonwealth Club Award for Best Novel (Family) - 1982
Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature - 1987
L.D.H.: Baruch College, College, City University, New York - 1988
Sherwood Anderson Prize - 1989

Herbert Gold drawing
Herbert Gold is known as the "Elder Statesman of the Beat Generation."
"Keep a journal, write every day . . . writing begets writing."

Herbert Gold: Writer

herbert Gold laughs
As always, we had fun.
Herbert Gold 2015

Bathroom art. presumably a souvenir from his time in Paris.

An office decoration.

Another glimpse of the living room.
Authors Road / Herbert Gold
That's a wrap!
Interview Movie
(Embedded version below)

Audio File
(Note: To download the podcast,
right click on the link if you are on a PC,
control click if you are on a Mac. )


San Francisco, CA

Run Time:



Fiction, Essays, Journalism, Memoir, Poetry




Lakewood, Ohio

Youthful Influence:

Tarzan, Little Women, Black Beauty, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy. . . and Ms. Collins – his teacher at Taft Elementary School in Lakewood Ohio.

Favorite Authors:

Friends and fellow writers: the poets Daniel Hoffman and Allen Ginsberg, screenwriter and novelist Don Mankowitz, novelists Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, and Larry McMurtry.

Creative Habit:

He writes in the morning when he can be alone. He writes in cafés on yellow legal pads or on a typewriter in his office. He follows fellow writer Kenneth Roberts' dictum that 'lunch is the enemy of the writer' and seldom 'does lunch.'


Copyright The Authors Road 2011 - 2020 All rights reserved.