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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 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. 

by The San Francisco Writers' Grotto

Published in 2011 by Chronicle Books

Get your creative juices flowing with this collection of witty, outrageous, and thought-provoking writing prompts compiled by thirty-five members of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, a workspace for professional writers.

by Janna Malamud Smith

Published in 2012 by Counterpoint Press

The author uses stories of artists' lives, personal anecdotes, and insights from the author's work as a psychotherapist to examine the psychological obstacles that prevent people, including poets and writers, from staying with, and relishing, the process of art-making.

by Robert J. Ray

Published in 2007 by Watson-Guptill Publications

The author of The Weekend Novelist guides readers through a series of seventeen weekend revision exercises.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Published in 2013 by MiroLand Publishers

The author, a widely published poet and the executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey, combines her own personal story as a writer with suggestions for writers at all stages of development.

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