Best Books for Writers

From the newly published to the invaluable classic, our list of essential books for creative writers.

by Maxine Clair

Published in 2014 by Agate Bolden

Through personal stories, award-winning author Maxine Clair offers insight into the creative process, how to find your creative outlet, and how to trust moments of inspiration. 

by Philippe Petit

Published in 2014 by Riverhead Books

Author and high-wire artist Philippe Petit, best known for his walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1974, shares his unconventional strategies and methods of practicing, problem-solving, and perfecting his craft. The ideas offered can be applied to various creative outlets including writing, music, and dance.

by Stephen Fry

Published in 2007 by Gotham Books

Actor and writer Stephen Fry invites reluctant and aspiring poets to discover writing poetry for pleasure and provides insights, exercises, and simple step-by-step advice.

by Alexander Steele

Published in 2003 by Bloomsbury USA

Techniques taught by the renowned Gotham Writers' Workshop were compiled by the school's president, Alexander Steele. Included are explanations of the fundamental elements of fiction, writing exercises, and the complete text of Raymond Carver's short story Cathedral.

by Brenda Peterson & Sarah Jane Freymann

Published in 2014 by Sasquatch Books

Memoirist Brenda Peterson and literary agent Sarah Jane Freymann offer advice on crafting a memoir culled from decades of experience. Also included are writing exercises, interviews with publishing experts, and information about indie publishing.

by Barbara Abercrombie

Published in 2013 by New World Library

Author and writing instructor Barbara Abercrombie provides a year's worth of writing exercises and prompts, as well as inspiring quotes and examples, to help writers break through the blocks that impede their writing progress.

by Steven Pinker

Published in 2014 by Viking

As a professor of psychology at Harvard University, Steven Pinker approaches the English language from a scientific perspective. In The Sense of Style he provides examples, evidence, and reasoning to help writers apply the guidelines of usage judiciously and to craft clear, concise prose.

by Virginia Woolf

Published in 2003 by Mariner Books

A Writer's Diary contains entries culled from Virginia Woolf's personal records, which she kept over a span of twenty-seven years. Included are writing excercises, notes on books she was reading, and accounts of people and scenes relevant to what she was writing at the time.

by Jack Woodville London

Published in 2014 by Vire Press

In A Novel Approach, Jack Woodville London offers advice to beginning and experienced writers on putting together the pieces that make up a well-crafted novel.

by N. M. Gwynne

Published in 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf

N. M. Gwynne's guide to writing is built around William Strunk's original 1918 essay on grammar, which E. B. White later expanded. Using an old-school approach, Gwynne instructs readers on how to put words together correctly.