The Making of a Writer

Journals, 1961-1963

By Gail Godwin; Rob Neufeld (Editor)
(Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812974690, 333pp.)

Publication Date: January 30, 2007

List Price: $16.95*
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Gail Godwin was twenty-four years old when she wrote: “I want to be everybody who is great; I want to create everything that has ever been created.” It is a declaration that only a wildly ambitious young writer would make in the privacy of her journal. Now, in The Making of a Writer, Godwin has distilled her early journals, which run from 1961 to 1963, to their brilliant and charming essence. She conveys the feverish period following the breakup of her first marriage; the fateful decision to move to Europe and the shock of her first encounters with Danish customs (and Danish men); the pleasures of soaking in the human drama on long rambles through the London streets and the torment of lonely Sundays spent wrestling these impressions into prose; and the determination to create despite rejection and a growing stack of debts. “I do not feel like a failure,” Godwin insists. “I will keep writing, harder than ever.”

Brimming with urgency and wit, Godwin’s inspiring tome opens a shining window into the life and craft of a great writer just coming into her own.

“A generous gift from a much-loved author to her readers.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Full of lively, entertaining observations on the literary life . . . [captures] the spirit of a young writer’s adventure into foreign lands and foreign realms of thought and creative endeavor.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“As cities and continents and men change, the entries are borne along by . . . the young Godwin’s fierce conviction that she is meant to write fiction and her desire to distract herself from this mission with any man who catches her eye.”
The New York Times Book Review

“[Godwin] describes a high-wire act of love and work. . . . She espouses fierce, uncompromising ideas about fiction.”
Los Angeles Times

“[Gail Godwin’s journals] are a gold mine.”
The Boston Globe

About the Author
Gail Godwin, three-time National Book Award finalist, is the bestselling author of fourteen critically acclaimed novels, including Flora, A Mother and Two Daughters, The Good Husband, Evensong, and Father Melancholy s Daughter, as well as The Making of a Writer, volumes one and two, edited by Rob Neufeld. She s received a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment of the Arts grants for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Woodstock, New York.

For 20 years, Rob Neufeld has written about the literature and history of western North Carolina for the Asheville Citizen-Times. He has led acclaimed region-wide reading programs for seven years as the director of Together We Read and now as the director of Mountain Lit. Neufeld also created The Read on WNC (, a website for regional books and heritage. Ron Rash called Neufeld "the person who has done more than anyone else to promote reading in this region." Neufeld has published books of local interest and collaborated with author Gail Godwin on The Making of a Writer: Journals, vols. 1 and 2.
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