Best Books for Writers

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

by Lizzie Skurnick

Published in 2015 by Workman Publishing

This book collects 244 of the wordplays and neologisms featured in Lizzie Skurnick's "That Should Be a Word" column in the New York Times Magazine. The terms, including twiticule, to mock someone in 140 characters, and brattle, to discuss one's children at great length, poke fun at life in the twenty-first century.

by David Biespiel

Published in 2015 by Antilever Press

In this volume of collected essays, poet and critic David Biespiel offers profound and entertaining analyses of the mysteries of poetry and the role poetry plays in American life. Biespiel discusses the work of nearly one hundred poets from ancient times to the present, in English and in translation.

by Romesh Gunesekera and A. L. Kennedy

Published in 2015 by Bloomsbury Academic

The seventh in the Writers' and Artists' series of books on writing provides an introduction to the forms and history of the novel, and contains tips from authors including Louise Doughty, Jonathan Franzen, and Philip Pullman. The book offers practical advice on writing and editing your own novel, as well as how to find an agent and publisher.

by Tara Mokhtari

Published in 2015 by Bloomsbury

This complete introductory manual for students of creative writing includes a structured series of practical exercises and a glossary of terms. Tips for writing cover genres such as memoir, short fiction, poetry, screenwriting, writing for performance, and writing for digital media.

by David Meltzer

Published in 2015 by City Lights Publishers

Beat Generation poet David Meltzer offers short remarks, autobiographical anecdotes, and inspirational quotations to guide those looking to master the art of poetry. This reissue includes new material that considers the effect of technological developments since the book's original publication in 1977.

by Frank L. Cioffi

Published in 2015 by Princeton University Press

Professor Frank L. Cioffi presents an "antihandbook handbook" using over three hundred sentences from newspaper and magazine articles from a single, typical day to exemplify grammar and usage rules. The book is divided into sections titled "Fundamentals," Fine Tuning," and "Deep Focus," for easy navigation.

by Melissa Pritchard

Published in 2015 by Bellevue Literary Press

Author Melissa Pritchard puts forth the question: "Why write?" Through fifteen inspiring essays, the book examines the power of language and the nurturing constancy of the writing life.

by Courttia Newland and Tania Hershman

Published in 2015 by Bloomsbury

Writers Courttia Newland and Tania Hershman offer an essential guide to writing short fiction successfully. The book explores the history of the form, how to get started with ideas and shape plots, as well as tips by leading short story writers. 

by Pat Schneider

Published in 2003 by Oxford University Press

Pat Schneider offers an in-depth description of the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method, and discusses various techniques for writing fiction and poetry. Schneider shares from her teaching experience the methods used in writing classes and community groups. 

by Mary Ruefle

Published in 2012 by Wave Books

The lectures in this collection by poet Mary Ruefle were delivered to a group of poetry graduate students over the course of fifteen years. A finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award, the lectures include "Poetry and the Moon," "Someone Reading a Book is a Sign of Order in the World," and "Lectures I Will Never Give."