The Writer's Reader: Vocation, Preparation, Creation

The Writer's Reader: Vocation, Preparation, Creation


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The Writer's Reader is an anthology of essays on the art and life of writing by major writers of the past and present.

These essays offer a wealth of insights into how writers approach their craft and represent a practical resource as well as a source of inspiration. The writings collected here range from classic to less well-known, historical to contemporary, and include, for example, essays on the vocation of writing by Natalia Ginzburg, John Berger, Edwidge Danticat, Julia Alvarez, and Flannery O'Connor; thoughts on preparing for writing by Roberto Bolaño, Henry Miller, Jorge Luis Borges, Ha Jin, and Cynthia Ozick; and essays on the craft of writing by authors such as Italo Calvino, Colm Tóibín, Virginia Woolf, Philip Roth, Lydia Davis, David Foster Wallace, and Zadie Smith.

Taken together, this collection is a must-read for any student or devotee of writing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628925388
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 01/12/2017
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Robert Cohen is a novelist, short story writer, and essayist, and is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College. His books include Inspired Sleep, Amateur Barbarians, and The Varieties of Romantic Experience, and his stories and essays have appeared in Harper's, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, GQ, and The Believer. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, a Lila Wallace Writers Award, and a Pushcart Prize.

Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, and biographer, and Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College. He is the author of The Last Station, which was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film, and The Passages of H.M. His novels and biographies have been translated into over thirty languages. He is the editor of the Norton Anthology of American Autobiography, The Columbia Anthology of American Poetry, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. He is a regular contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education, CNN, The New York Times, and The Guardian. He has also written for GQ, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and Salon.

Table of Contents


I. Vocation
Natalia Ginzburg, “My Vocation”
Tillie Olsen, “Silences”
Robert Louis Stevenson, “Letter to A Young Gentleman Who Proposes To Embrace the Career of Art”
Flannery O'Connor, “The Nature and Aim of Fiction”
John Berger, “The Storyteller”
Danilo Kiš, "Advice to a Yong Writer"
Jay Parini, "Mentors"
Edwidge Danticat, “Create Dangerously”
Charles Baxter, "Full of It"
Ted Solotaroff, “Writing in the Cold: The First Ten Years”
Julia Alvarez, “The Older Writer and the Underworld”

II. Preparation
Roberto Bolano, "Who Would Dare?"
Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library”
Henry Miller, “Reading In the Toilet”
Katherine Anne Porter, “My First Speech”
Jorge Luis Borges, “Literary Pleasure”
Michel de Montaigne, “Of Books”
Ha Jin, “Deciding to Write in English”
Georges Perec, “Approaches to What?”
Cynthia Ozick, "The Lesson of the Master"

III. Creation
Donald Barthelme, “Not Knowing”
Italo Calvino, “Levels of Reality in Literature”
Willa Cather, “The Novel Demeuble”
Leonard Michaels, “The Personal and the Individual”
Colm Tóibín, "Grief"
Virginia Woolf, “Character in Fiction”
Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”
Philip Roth, “Writing American Fiction”
Lydia Davis, “Form as a Response to Doubt”*
Binavanga Wainaina, “How Not to Write About Africa”
Robert Cohen, "Refer Madness"
David Foster Wallace, “The Nature of the Fun”
Zadie Smith, “Fail Better”

Notes on Contributors

Customer Reviews