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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 Sean Manning

Published in 2010 by Da Capo Press

Numerous authors—from Chris Abani and Shahriar Mandanipour to Sigrid Nunez and Xu Xiaobin— discuss works of literature that inspired them as writers.

by Martha Alderson

Published in 2011 by Adams Media

The author provides insight on how to create works of fiction with powerful stories and focuses on how to devise a Universal Plot, plot lines and subplots, compelling scenes, and character transformation.

by Kelly L. Stone

Published in 2010 by Adams Media

Stone explores practical, day-to-day techniques and psychological exercises designed to enable and encourage writers to write more effectively and prolifically.

by Laraine Herring

Published in 2010 by Shambhala Publications

Herring, author of Writing Begins with the Breath, discusses exercises designed to foster greater spontaneity and freedom in one’s writing.

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.”

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