Best Books for Writers

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

by Martha Alderson

Published in 2011 by Adams Media

The author provides insight on how to create works of fiction with powerful stories and focuses on how to devise a Universal Plot, plot lines and subplots, compelling scenes, and character transformation.

by Kelly L. Stone

Published in 2010 by Adams Media

Stone explores practical, day-to-day techniques and psychological exercises designed to enable and encourage writers to write more effectively and prolifically.

by Laraine Herring

Published in 2010 by Shambhala Publications

Herring, author of Writing Begins with the Breath, discusses exercises designed to foster greater spontaneity and freedom in one’s writing.

by Vila Gillet

Published in 2011 by Columbia University Press

Renowned contemporary authors—including Rick Moody, Etgar Keret, Colum McCann, and Annie Proulx— select and write about a specific word that is meaningful to them. Their essays reveal to the reader the author’s inner-thoughts and quirky musings.  

by Ellen Bryant Voigt

Published in 2009 by Graywolf Press

The author examines the structure of successful poems written by reputable authors and stresses syntax as one of the most important means for composing rhythmic works.

by Sue William Silverman

Published in 2009 by University of Georgia Press

In this resource for writers, Silverman focuses on honing one’s personal story and voice in order to write a truthful, captivating memoir. Silverman also explores effective ways of marketing and publishing one’s “confessional,” as well.

by Alexander Neubauer

Published in 2010 by Knopf

The author compiles interviews between Pearl London (daughter of M. Lincoln Schuster) and prominent poets including Derek Walcott, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky, Louise Gluck, and Charles Simic. The poets gave writing seminars to students at the New School from from 1973 to 1996.

by Marion Roach Smith

Published in 2011 by Grand Central Publishing

The author of The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, and Sexual Power of Red Hair provides straight-forward tactics and advice for writing honest memoirs.

by Lee Gutkind, editor

Published in 2008 by W. W. Norton

The author provides practical ideas and techniques for writing truthful, absorbing, and factual memoirs. This guidebook is broken down into handy sections such as “Family Members as Characters,” “Fact-Checking,” “Reconstruction of Events,” and “Writer’s Responsibilities to Subjects.”

by Barbara Shoup and Margaret-Love-Denman

Published in 2009 by The University of Georgia Press

Shoup and Denman explore how to write a novel and focus on the elements of fiction and the process of revision. The authors also interview successful novelists in order to provide readers with further insight into crafting their own stories.

Current Issue

Cover Story 

Our Independent Publishing Issue features an in-depth interview with Graywolf Press editor Jeff Shotts; a look at the successful partnerships of eleven small-press authors and their editors; a profile of indie essayist Charles D'Ambrosio; Donald Hall recalls a golden age of American poetry; best-selling author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore on the rewards of self-promotion; advice for self-published authors; a conversation with Guernica publisher Lisa Lucas; and much more.

Finding Gems in Lost & Found

by Rebecca Bates

News and Trends

Posted 10.15.14

November/December 2014

The Center for Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City is making the ephemeral more tangible through its Lost & Found chapbook series.


Let's Just Do This: Eleven Small-Press Authors and their Publishing Partners

by Kevin Larimer

Special Section

Posted 10.15.14

November/December 2014

Eleven small-press authors and their publishing partners discuss the independent approach—and all the passion, commitment, and love that comes with it—to bringing books into the world.


Agents & Editors: Jeff Shotts

by Michael Szczerban

Special Section

Posted 10.15.14

November/December 2014

Graywolf Press executive editor Jeff Shotts discusses the power of patience in publishing, editing as an act of empathy, and why it’s an exciting time to be a poet.