Overview

William Zinsser's journey to all the places where he has done his writing and his teaching begins in 1946, with his first job at the New York Herald Tribune, a community of legendary journalists and oddballs, in its postwar years of glory. Next came 11 years of freelance writing for magazines, mainly covering the turbulent 1960s for Life, a period that found the writer and his typewriter perched in many unusual locations.

After that he spent a decade at Yale University, where ...

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Writing Places

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Overview

William Zinsser's journey to all the places where he has done his writing and his teaching begins in 1946, with his first job at the New York Herald Tribune, a community of legendary journalists and oddballs, in its postwar years of glory. Next came 11 years of freelance writing for magazines, mainly covering the turbulent 1960s for Life, a period that found the writer and his typewriter perched in many unusual locations.

After that he spent a decade at Yale University, where his office as master of Branford College was beneath a 44-bell carillon. At Yale he originated his famous "nonfiction workshop," which would launch the careers of many exceptional writers and editors. That course led to his classic book, On Writing Well, which he wrote during the summer of 1974 in a crude shed in Connecticut. In this new memoir Zinsser recalls the processes that went into creating that original edition and revising it over the next 30 years to keep pace with changes in the language and culture of America. His journey brings him back to New York City and to writing articles and books in quirky rented offices, one of which had a fire pole.

Written with humor and with gratitude for a lifetime of change and self-discovery, relishing a rich cast of characters that ranges from Yale's president Kingman Brewster to the actor Peter Sellers and the gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Writing Places never loses its anchor in the craft of writing—how writing is taught, learned and finally brought to a high level of enjoyment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Influential journalist, author and educator Zinsser (American Places, Easy to Remember) produces an elegantly written memoir, featuring an array of vividly drawn tales from 50-plus years of writing, reporting and teaching in London, the Hamptons, Yale University and elsewhere. A master of storytelling, what makes Zinsser's memoir most effective is the gentle connection he forms with nearly everyone who enters his life, from his students at Yale, who treated Zinsser as a trusted confidante, to the elusive golf-ball thief "Mr. Roby," who Zinsser celebrated in a Saturday Evening Post article. Zinsser also chronicles his days as a writer for the Herald Tribune and Life, as well as the lean times when freelance work alone sustained him. Zinsser also delves into the development of his own non-fiction writing course at Yale, his bestseller On Writing Well, and a multitude of other articles and books. With careful introspection and nothing but gratitude for the people in his life, Zinsser makes perfect sense out of his long, strange journey.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal
Influential writing mentor William Zinsser (On Writing Well) here briefly recounts his prolific and varied career and its many unusual work environments. Zinsser's characteristic good humor and conversational tone are present as he describes his numerous changes of job description and employers, all while he pursued the same underlying vocation of communicating—and teaching others to communicate—via the written word. From the New York Herald Tribune to Yale to offices outfitted with fire pole exits, Zinsser demonstrates that good writing does not depend on one's surroundings. He also encourages his readers and students to pursue their passions wherever they may lead, presenting his own interesting career as proof of this wisdom. VERDICT The best parts of this book are Zinsser's nuggets of writing advice; the memoir portions, especially in passages listing names and places from the author's past, are less successful than other memoirs such as Annie Dillard's The Writing Life or Stephen King's On Writing. Although some general readers may be interested, this book is recommended mainly for students of writing.—Stacey Rae Brownlie, Lititz P.L., PA
From the Publisher
"Looking back at his personal and professional achievements, Zinsser cannot mask his self-satisfaction—-but rather than coming across as narcissistic, his pride proves markedly charming." —-Publishers Weekly Audio Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061877063
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/19/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • File size: 431 KB

Meet the Author

William Zinsser is a writer, editor and teacher. He began his career on the New York Herald Tribune and has since written regularly for leading magazines. During the 1970s he was master of Branford College at Yale. His 17 books, ranging from baseball to music to American travel, include the influential Writing to Learn and Writing About Your Life. He teaches at the New School in New York.

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