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Best Books for Writers

From the newly published to the invaluable classic, our list of essential books for creative writers.

by Vila Gillet

Published in 2011 by Columbia University Press

Renowned contemporary authors—including Rick Moody, Etgar Keret, Colum McCann, and Annie Proulx— select and write about a specific word that is meaningful to them. Their essays reveal to the reader the author’s inner-thoughts and quirky musings.  

by Ellen Bryant Voigt

Published in 2009 by Graywolf Press

The author examines the structure of successful poems written by reputable authors and stresses syntax as one of the most important means for composing rhythmic works.

by Sue William Silverman

Published in 2009 by University of Georgia Press

In this resource for writers, Silverman focuses on honing one’s personal story and voice in order to write a truthful, captivating memoir. Silverman also explores effective ways of marketing and publishing one’s “confessional,” as well.

by Alexander Neubauer

Published in 2010 by Knopf

The author compiles interviews between Pearl London (daughter of M. Lincoln Schuster) and prominent poets including Derek Walcott, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky, Louise Gluck, and Charles Simic. The poets gave writing seminars to students at the New School from from 1973 to 1996.

by Marion Roach Smith

Published in 2011 by Grand Central Publishing

The author of The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, and Sexual Power of Red Hair provides straight-forward tactics and advice for writing honest memoirs.

by Lee Gutkind, editor

Published in 2008 by W. W. Norton

The author provides practical ideas and techniques for writing truthful, absorbing, and factual memoirs. This guidebook is broken down into handy sections such as “Family Members as Characters,” “Fact-Checking,” “Reconstruction of Events,” and “Writer’s Responsibilities to Subjects.”

by Barbara Shoup and Margaret-Love-Denman

Published in 2009 by The University of Georgia Press

Shoup and Denman explore how to write a novel and focus on the elements of fiction and the process of revision. The authors also interview successful novelists in order to provide readers with further insight into crafting their own stories.

by Dennis O'Driscoll, editor

Published in 2008 by Copper Canyon Press

O’Driscoll collects hundreds of inspirational and thought-provoking quotations about poetry, spanning topics such as “Poetry in Motion,” “Poetic Drive,” and “Call Yourself a Poet,” from prominent authors.

by Constance Hale

Published in 2012 by W. W. Norton

The author of Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose (Broadway Books, 1999) explores syntax, grammar, and powerful ways of utilizing verbs to write more compelling, effecive prose.

by Tony Leuzzi

Published in 2012 by BOA Editions

The author interviews successful poets about their work and focuses on prevalent themes, images, and their process of revision. 

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