Writers on Writing
Collected Essays from The New York Times
By John Darnton (Introduction by)
Times Books, Hardcover, 9780805067415, 256pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2001
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Today's most celebrated writers explore literature and the literary life in an inspirational collection of original essays.
By turns poignant, practical, and hilarious, Writers on Writing brings together more than forty of contemporary literature's finest voices. Drawn from the distinguished New York Times column of the same name, it features essays by an extraordinary group of prizewinning and bestselling contributors.
The pieces range from reflections on the daily craft of writing to the intersection of art's and life's consequential moments. Authors discuss what impels them to write: creating a sense of control in a turbulent universe; bearing witness to events that would otherwise be lost in history or within the writer's soul; recapturing a fragment of time. Others praise mentors and lessons, whether from the classroom, daily circumstances, or the pages of a favorite writer. For anyone interested in the art and rewards of writing, Writers on Writing offers an uncommon and revealing view of a writer's world.
Contributors include Russell Banks, Saul Bellow, E. L. Doctorow, Louise Erdrich, Richard Ford, Carl Hiaasen, Jamaica Kincaid, Barbara Kingsolver, Sue Miller, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Marge Piercy, Annie Proulx, Carol Shields, Jane Smiley, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and Elie Wiesel.
John Darnton, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award for his journalism, is culture editor for The New York Times and author of two novels.
From Writers on Writing:
"In a time when everything around me seemed completely out of control, when lives were being cut short and fate seemed especially cruel, I had the need to get to an ending of something. I was desperate to know how things turned out, in fiction if not in life. More than ever, more than anything, I was a writer."—Alice Hoffman, from Writers on Writing
"The trial lawyer's job and the novelist's were, in some aspects, shockingly similar. Both involved the reconstruction of experience, usually through many voices. . . . But there the paths deviated. In this arena the universal trumped; there were no prizes for being rarefied or ahead of the times. The trial lawyer who lost the audience also inevitably lost the case."—Scott Turow, from Writers on Writing