• The cover of the book Ordinary Light

    Ordinary Light

    When Tracy K. Smith read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man in college, it showed her that although “listening to a protagonist is easier that listening to a person speaking in the flesh,” it was even more about “realizing I was capable of opening my eyes and ears in such a way as to accept the truth of what I was reading and admit the pain.” Ordinary Light is an elegant and eloquent examination of ideas through the mind of one remarkable person.

     
  • The cover of the book She Wants It

    She Wants It

    The creator of the groundbreaking show Transparent has gone through a lot of transformation as well. Jill Soloway was married to a man at one point in their life, but in She Wants It, they tell the story of how they became the person and the artist they were always meant to be.

     
  • The cover of the book Joseph Anton

    Joseph Anton

    Though Salman Rushdie delves into his childhood a bit in his fascinating memoir Joseph Anton, the true heart of it focuses on what happened after the Ayatollah Khomeini for writing his novel The Satanic Verses. The book is riveting not just for the story of what Rushdie had to go through (intense security, safe-house confinement), but how it changed Rushdie as a person and a writer.

     
  • The cover of the book Images and Shadows

    Images and Shadows

    Celebrated for her war journals, Iris Origo chronicles her discovery of writing as her true calling. In a Tuscan estate she purchased with her husband, the British-born Origo found herself in literature, and her depiction of that transformation should inspire anyone who hopes to put words on paper.

     
  • The cover of the book The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison

    The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison

    Though of course Ralph Ellison’s letters deal with all aspects of his rich life and the shifting world around him, they also contend with his craft. Spanning six decades, Ellison’s letters trace his one-of-a-kind trajectory from impoverished youth to one of America’s greatest novelists.

     
  • The cover of the book A Life of My Own

    A Life of My Own

    Unquestionably one of the world’s best biographers (her take on the life of Charles Dickens, for instance, is a classic of the form), Claire Tomalin’s captivating, honest, and heartbreaking memoir gives us an uncannily rendered portrait of a writer blossoming despite some trying and harrowing circumstances.

     
  • The cover of the book A Writer's Life

    A Writer's Life

    For the past quarter century, the Writers’ Trust of Canada has commissioned talks from some of the country’s most preeminent authors—including Timothy Findlay, Mavis Gallant, Alistair MacLeod, and Margaret Atwood—on the subject of “the writer’s life.” Collected together in a wonderful anthology, these lectures bring extraordinary insight to what it means to be a steward of the written word.

     
  • The cover of the book A Writer's Life

    A Writer's Life

    One of the 20th century’s most revered journalists (from his groundbreaking profile of Frank Sinatra in 1966 to his monumental book on the New York Times), Gay Talese, in A Writer’s Life, takes aim at himself, and the result is just as brilliant and perceptive as anything the master nonfiction-writer ever produced.

     
  • The cover of the book On Writing

    On Writing

    Like all of her writing, Eudora Welty’s vital handbook for fiction writing—the of course economically titled On Writing—is concise, to the point, and deeply authoritative, all while being an absolute joy to read. For those looking for insights into the construction of fiction, On Writing is a necessary work.

     
  • The cover of the book On Writing

    On Writing

    One of the most original and beguiling fiction writers to ever live, Jorge Luis Borges, in this collection of pieces, takes you behind the scenes of his innovative and inimitable stories. Filled with surprising candor and masterful wit, On Writing is sure to charm as much as it enlightens.