Canada, and why, as a Southern writer, he doesn't set his books in his old territory.

"/> Cheap Wine, Plastic Chairs: Richard Ford at Book Court — The Airship
By Kate Gavino

You're one of the few southern writers, who doesn't really write about the south (other than your first novel). In your books, the South is always a place where people are just sort of from. And the south is a region that produces writers that tend to write about the same county for their entire life. You talk about being from the South, but why don't you set your fiction there as well? 

Ford: I think the thing that probably made me not want to write about the South anymore after I was about 33 was that I figured I didn't have anything new to say, and  everybody who had come along before me was not only better than I was, but had already said everything I could possibly ever imagine. Probably everything that I knew about the South I learned not from living in the south but from reading their books. To write novels at all you have to feel like you are the worlds greatest expert and have the most interesting things to say about the subjects you choose. I just didn't qualify there.
...In fact, my whole belief was to try to outstrip all of those assumptions --conventional assumptions-- about people being made by where they're from because where I was from, Jackson Mississippi, was a horrible place. It was bigoted and church-y and racist, and all kinds of things which I was already having friction with when I was sixteen years old, so I just had to get away from that. I chiefly wanted to get away from there so that it would no longer explain me. I don't disavow the South at all. You can hear Dixie in my voice, and I lived in New Orleans and the Delta most of my adult life. I lived in Mississippi all of last year, and I got no problems with Mississippi.  I just didn't want to be explained by where I was simply accidentally born.