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Cengage Learning
Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction / Edition 2

Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction / Edition 2

by Sondra PerlSondra Perl
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This book shows writers of all ages how to find and develop nonfiction topics that matter to them—in ways that make readers care too. It emphasizes writing for discovery, not just writing what one knows. It emphasizes a strong authorial presence (voice) and a convincing point of view. Most important, it not only tells but also shows how writing true involves the poet's attention to language, the fiction writer's power of storytellling, the journalist's pursuit of fact, and the scholar's reliance on research. The first part of the book offers ten practical chapters from getting started to turning first ideas into finished work. Topics include: The Power of the Notebook, Ten Ways to a Draft, Taking Shape, Finding Voice, Twenty Ways to Talk About Writing, The Craft of Revision, The Role of Research, The Ethics of Creative Nonfiction, Workshopping a Draft, and Exploring New Media. The second part of the book is an anthology of the best nonfiction writing for aspiring writers to read and study in order to write with creativity, integrity, and authenticity. Organized by form, they include Memoir, Personal Essay, Portrait, Essay of Place, Narrative Journalism, and Short Shorts. Selections represent a variety of experience from classic masters (E.B.White and George Orwell) to major contemporary writers (such as Alice Walker, Stephen Dunn, and Scott Russell Sanders) to up and coming writers (such as E.J. Levy and Amy Butcher). The anthology also includes "Stories of Craft," with five prominent writers, including Patricia Hampl and Sue Miller, describing the challenges and rewards of writing engaging nonfiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2901133307432
Publisher: Cengage Learning
Publication date: 02/26/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Sondra is the author of six books, among them, Landmark Essays on Writing Process; Felt Sense: Writing with the Body; 'Stepping on My Brother's Head' and Other Secrets Your English Professor Never Told You, creative nonfiction essays written by well-known writing teachers across the county and co-edited with Charles Schuster; and On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate, a memoir that tells the story of what happened to Sondra when she found herself teaching Austrian teachers whose parents had been Nazis. This book was a finalist in the 2006 Independent Booksellers Award for memoir and led to the creation of the Holocaust Educators Network, which Sondra now directs at the Memorial Library in New York City. A professor of English at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Sondra has received numerous awards and honors including a Guggenheim fellowship and the Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation. For more info, go to

Mimi is the author of five books, most recently, Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of My Father's German Village, a winner of the ForeWord Magazine for Best Memoir in 2008. Other books include Writing for Many Roles; Writer's Craft, Teacher's Art; and Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed, a memoir about life in a long marriage, what you get and give up for it that was a JCC Book Club Pick for nonfiction in 2002. Mimi's short work has appeared in over fifty venues, both academic (College English, English Journal, Chronicles of Higher Ed) and literary (The Missouri Review, Agni, Brevity, Tikkun, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, Arts & Culture, River Teeth, Calyx, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times). Seven essays have been Notables in Best American Essays. Professor Emerita in Writing at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Mimi teaches writing workshops in creative nonfiction nationwide and abroad. For more information, go to

Table of Contents

PART I: WRITING CREATIVE NONFICTION. 1. Why Creative Nonfiction? 2. The Power of the Notebook. 3. Ten Ways to a Draft. 4. Taking Shape. 5. Finding Voice. Twenty Ways to Talk about Creative Nonfiction. 6. Workshopping a Draft. 7. The Craft of Revision. 8. Exploring New Media. 9. The Role of Research. 10. The Ethics of Creative Nonfiction. PART II: READING CREATIVE NONFICTION. 11. Memoir. Alice Walter, Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self. Lee Martin, Never Thirteen. Lisa Chavez, Independence Day, Manley Hot Springs, Alaska. Nora Ephron, A Few Words About Breasts. Tony Earley, Somehow Form a Family. 12. Personal Essay. Brain Doyle, Being Brians. E.J. Levy, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Scott Russell Sanders, Under the Influence. Kandi Tayebi, Warring Memories. Dudley Clendinen, The Good Short Life. Rebecca McClanahan, Book Marks. 13. Portrait. Charles Simic, Dinner at Uncle Boris'. Jill Lepore, Poor Jane's Almanac. Susan Allen Toth, Going to the Movies. Max Apple, Roommates. Alice Steinbach, The Miss Dennis School of Writing. Jerald Walker, Before Grief. 14. Essay of Place. Pico Iyer, Chapels. Yunte Huang, Southern Hospitality, but Not for Newcomers. Gretchen Legler, Movements of Being: An Antarctic Quintet. Dagoberto Gilb, Living Al Chuco. E.B. White, Once More to the Lake. 15. Narrative Journalism. Richard Selzer, Four Appointments with the Discus Thrower. Susan Orlean, Meet the Shaggs. George Orwell, A Hanging. Tracy Kidder, from Among Schoolchildren. 16. Stories of Craft. Patricia Hampl, Memory and Imagination. Lisa Knopp, Perhapsing: The Use of Speculation in Creative Nonfiction. Kim Stafford, The Writer as Professional Eavesdropper. Sue Miller, from A Lecture on Revision. Colin Rafferty, Ten Year Reunion: Writing 'Boys Least Likely to'. 17. Short Shorts. Bailey White, Buzzard. Sven Birkerts, Every Day. Kathleen Norris, Rain. Amy Butcher, Still Things. Judith Kitchen, Only the Dance. Stephen Dunn, Locker Room Talk. Maureen Stanton, Water. Norma Ella Cantu, Tino & Papi.

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