Books on Nonfiction, Writing or Reading

Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction.
by Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

“Creative Nonfiction is a new name for an old impulse: to write about the real world in a way that makes writers and readers care. The power of the genre is its invitation to all writers, no matter who they are, to speak out and be heard as individuals. Expert and novice, young and old, famous and never-heard-before, all have the legitimacy to say: “Here’s how I see the world!” And if they write well enough—combining passion, accuracy, and grace of language—others will listen. This book provides the strategies for making creative nonfiction come alive, whether one is focusing on personal experience or the world at large. Ideal for classroom or individual use.” (from Mimi Schwartz’ website:


Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories into Memoirs, Ideas into Essays, and Life into Literature.
By Bill Roorbach with Kristin Keckler

Cincinnatti: Writer’s Digest Books, 2008.

“I distilled a decade of teaching memoir and essay writing into the original WRITING LIFE STORIES. Ten more years and a changed writing landscape led to a complete revision. With the brilliant Kristen Keckler, I brought all the assignments up to date and added dozens of new ones. Every chapter got an overhaul, and the famous list of books and authors at the end was expanded and revised (see below!). The book is still the book for writers of all ages and backgrounds seeking to tell their stories, but it’s been specifically revised to better accommodate writing classes, particularly at the undergraduate and graduate level. It’s been widely assigned across the country, and has sold over 50,000 copies in the original and revised editions. People send me their exercises almost daily, and I love seeing how my ideas have borne fruit. It’s all here, from getting started to getting published, with ideas for new writers as well as seasoned pros, and plenty of ideas for teachers.” (from Bill Roorbach’s website:


Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth.
edited by Bill Roorbach

NY:Oxford UP, 2001.

“The most inclusive collection of creative nonfiction available, Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth is the only anthology that brings together examples of all three of the main forms in the genre: the literary memoir, the personal essay, and literary journalism. Featuring a generous and diverse sampling of more than sixty works, this collection includes beautiful, disturbing, and instructive works of literary memoir by such writers as Mary McCarthy, Annie Dillard, and Judy Ruiz; smart, funny, and moving personal essays by authors ranging from E.B. White to Phillip Lopate to Ntozake Shange; and incisive, vivid, and quirky examples of literary journalism by Truman Capote, Barbara Ehrenreich, Sebastian Junger, and many others. This unique volume also contains examples of captivating nature writing, exciting literary travel writing, brilliant essays in science, surprising creative cultural criticism, and moving literary diaries and journals, incorporating several classic selections to set a context for the contemporary work. The editor’s general introduction and introductions to each of the five sections provide useful definitions, crucial history, critical context, and abundant issues to debate. Ideal for undergraduate and graduate courses in creative nonfiction, literary journalism, essay writing, and all levels of composition, Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth is also an essential resource for all nonfiction writers, from novices to professionals.” (from: the Oxford University Press website)

Click on the image to be redirected to Roorbach’s homepage.


Landscape with Figures: The Nonfiction of Place.
edited by Robert Root

Lincoln Nebraska; University of Nebraska Press, 2007.

“For some it is about travel, about plunging oneself into new settings. For others it is about being—and knowing—home. For everyone it is the sense of place.

This book is a collection of essays, memoirs, nature writing, and travel narratives that document the impact this sense of place has on writing. In locations as familiar as Cape Cod or Mesa Verde and as exotic as Kraków or Kyrgyzstan, thirteen accomplished writers of contemporary creative nonfiction share some of their most memorable work, disclosing how place alters our perception and influences our insight.

Taking readers to deserts and forests, islands and mountains, Landscape with Figures is an encounter not only with places but also with writers themselves. Each contribution is accompanied by a new commentary by its author discussing the relationship to place in his or her writing. The authors reveal the connections they feel to the places they write about, the role that place plays in the choices they make in relating their experiences, and the strategies and work habits that produce such writing. This compilation is simultaneously a wide-ranging anthology of the nonfiction of place for the armchair traveler, and a book about writing for those who aspire to understand and practice the craft, carrying with it the invitation to reflect on one’s own special places.” (from: Robert Root’s website:



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