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Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

by Meredith Maran (Editor)

Other authors: Isabel Allende (Contributor), David Baldacci (Contributor), Jennifer Egan (Contributor), James Frey (Contributor), Sue Grafton (Contributor)15 more, Sara Gruen (Contributor), Kathryn Harrison (Contributor), Gish Jen (Contributor), Sebastian Junger (Contributor), Mary Karr (Contributor), Michael Lewis (Contributor), Armistead Maupin (Contributor), Terry McMillan (Contributor), Rick Moody (Contributor), Walter Mosley (Contributor), Susan Orlean (Contributor), Ann Patchett (Contributor), Jodi Picoult (Contributor), Jane Smiley (Contributor), Meg Wolitzer (Contributor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18310151,745 (4.07)2
A group of successful authors offer encouragement and guidance to aspiring writers by explaining why and how they work at writing, featuring contributions from Jennifer Egan, Sue Grafton, David Baldacci, and Jodi Picoult.

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
A great little book about the best and worst of times from 20 authors who currently enjoy more success than they ever imagined.

( )
  AngelaLam | Feb 8, 2022 |
It is a wonderful compilation of essays by 20 American authors. Most of them read like a straight from the heart conversation and provide a lot of practical advice to aspiring writers. However the context is limited to being a writer publishing in the United States. Hence some of the operational matters are irrelevant for readers from other parts of the world. ( )
  Anaswara_Jose | Dec 8, 2021 |
This is a collection of essays by twenty different authors about why they write. While there was a lot of repetition (frequently "I can't not write"), I found many of the stories to be very interesting. I particularly liked the essay by Isabel Allende. She starts writing every book on January 8th. She writes in Spanish even though she is fluent in English. The same person always translates her works and Allende works closely with her, often correcting a word or choosing another instead. "I correct to the point of exhaustion," she says. David Baldacci's defense of "popular fiction" as opposed to "literary fiction" was also quite interesting. I have not read anything by Katherine Harrison, but after reading her essay, I want to.
( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
Twenty well-known authors are all asked the same questions … the 5 W’s of writing. Their answers to these questions make up this book, along with a brief personal history, a synopsis of their work, the first paragraph of their newest offering and their advice to anyone considering writing as a career.

This was an interesting and informative little book, especially for someone who loves to read. I was familiar with all of the names in the book, but have not read works by every author included. Some good insights into how writing and publishing have changed over the years. Some really intriguing little quirks about the authors themselves as well.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book is being donated to an organization called 826 National, an innovative youth literacy program.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
One of the things I loved about this book was the diversity of perspectives from the 20 authors who gave their opinions on why we write. We don't all write for the same reasons, but understanding the reasons why some others write can provide us insight into ourselves and our culture. The book is also inspirational and filled with advice and encouragement for authors. Highly recommended for authors and those who aspire to write. ( )
  Neftzger | Apr 15, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maran, MeredithEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allende, IsabelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baldacci, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Egan, JenniferContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frey, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grafton, SueContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gruen, SaraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, KathrynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jen, GishContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Junger, SebastianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Karr, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lewis, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maupin, ArmisteadContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McMillan, TerryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moody, RickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mosley, WalterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orlean, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Patchett, AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Picoult, JodiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smiley, JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolitzer, MegContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A group of successful authors offer encouragement and guidance to aspiring writers by explaining why and how they work at writing, featuring contributions from Jennifer Egan, Sue Grafton, David Baldacci, and Jodi Picoult.

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