Resources & Links

A few lists of books & quotes

Book-length memoir and creative nonfiction

Memoir on Illness & Disability

Spiritual memoirs

Quotes from James Baldwin

And a few more…

Books on Craft

FICTION

Peter Selgin, 179 Ways to Save a Novel
Brandilyn Collins, Getting into Character
John Gardner, The Art of Fiction and On Becoming a Novelist
Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction
Janet Burroway and Robert Olen Butler, From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction
Robin Hemley, Turning Life into Fiction,
Michael Kardos, The Art and Craft of Fiction
Rust Hills, Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
Ron Carlson, Ron Carlson Writes a Story
Francine Prose, Reading as a Writer
Percy Lubbock, The Craft of Fiction

NONFICTION

Sven Birkets, The Element of Time in Memoir
Thomas Couser. Memoir: An Introduction.
Francis Flaherty, The Elements of Story
Philip Gerard, Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life
Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story
Carl H. Klaus. The Made-Up Self: Impersonation in the Personal Essay. University of Iowa Press, 2010.
Carl H. Klaus and Ned Stuckey-French, Essayists on the Essay
Thomas Larson. The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading & Writing Personal Narrative. Ohio University Press, 2007.
Dan Lehman. Matters of Fact: Reading Nonfiction Over the Edge. Ohio State University Press, 1997.
Brenda Miller and Susan Paola, Tell It Slant
Bill Roorbach, Writing Life Stories
Bill Roorbach, Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth

GENERAL

Jane Alison, Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative
Dorothea Brand, Becoming a Writer
Janet Burroway, Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft
Lee Martin, Telling Stories: The Craft of Narrative and the Writing Life
Ann Lamott, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Elizabeth Berg, Escaping Into the Open (heart to heart on the writing life)
Donald Newlove, First Paragraphs
The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner, (ins and outs of writing and publishing)
Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town
Julia Cameron, The Right to Write and The Artist’s Way
Heather Sellers, The Practice of Creative Writing
Verlyn Klinkenborg, Several Short Sentences about Writing
Bret Anthony Johnston, Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer
Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
Brenda Ueland: If You Want to Write: A Book about Independence and Spirit

Books on the Theory of Nonfiction

Here’s a wonderful page of resources on the theory and craft of creative writing

Chris Anderson, ed. Literary Nonfiction: Theory, Criticism, Pedagogy. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989. I can’t stress how good this book is. Such an excellent collection!

Leigh Gilmore. The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony. Cornell University Press, 2001.

Jean-Guy Goulet & Bruce Granville Miller, eds. Extraordinary Anthropology: Transformations in the Field. University of Nebraska Press, 2007.

Carolyn G. Heilbrun. Writing a Woman’s Life. Ballantine, 1988.

Susan Sontag. Regarding the Pain of Others. Picador, 2003.

Ned Stuckey-French. The American Essay in the American Century. University of Missouri Press, 2011.

Sidonie Smith & Julia Watson, eds. Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader. University of Wisconsin Press, 1998.

Albert E. Stone. Autobiographical Occasions and Original Acts: Versions of American Identity from Henry Adams to Nate Shaw. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.

“[W]e should remind ourselves again that autobiography is a content, not any particular form.” (p. 271). This was an ah-a moment for me, something I can take right to the classroom. Elsewhere in the same book, Stone lists many, many forms that fit under (in his thinking) autobiography: “Memoir, reminiscence, apology and confession, testament, case-history and life-history, diary and journal, personal journalism, the nonfiction novel or mock autobiography are all descriptive terms–some traditional, some newly invented–for different kinds of storytelling acts and cultural occasions included in modern autobiography.”

Blakey Vermeule. Why Do We Care About Literary Characters? Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

Jennifer Jensen Wallach. Closer to the Truth than Any Fact: Memoir, Memory, and Jim Crow. University of Georgia Press, 2008.

Ben Yagoda. Memoir: A History. Riverhead, 2009.

Nonfiction in a few categories that I don’t regularly have my students read but that I find drawn to…

Narrative Nonfiction on Science

  • Douglas Hofstadter. I Am A Strange Loop.
  • Evelyn Fox Keller. A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock. Freeman, 1983.
  • Atul Gawande. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science

Other Lists of Creative Nonfiction Books

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