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The Autobiographer's Handbook: The 826 National Guide to Writing Your Memoir Paperback – September 2, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0805087130 ISBN-10: 0805087133 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087130
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco dedicated to supporting students aged six to eighteen with their writing skills. The first center opened in 2002 and since then, more than 10,000 volunteers have donated their time, with 826 centers springing up in New York, L.A., Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Seattle; 826 Boston will open in the fall of 2007. All proceeds from this book will benefit the 826 centers.

Jennifer Traig, a longtime 826 tutor and workshop teacher, is the author of two memoirs—Well Enough Alone and Devil in the Details (2004). She holds a Ph.D. in literature, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, JANE, The Observer (London), and the San Francisco Chronicle.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This book was recommended to me by my memoir instructor.
Terilynn Mitchell
If you are looking to write your memoir/autobiography, buy this book!
Belle
It has been said that everyone has one good book in them.
Midwest Book Review

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a particularly focused book, a perfect addition to a writer's library, unique in structure and intent, not limited to one author's perspective, but a collaboration, useful, specific suggestions for the writing process. Staring at a blank sheet of paper, or more likely, a blank computer screen, anyone writing a memoir is faced with daunting decisions: where to start, what to include, appropriate editing, the direction of the narrative. Concept is critical and the concept behind this guide is specific. Co-founded by Dave Eggers, "826 National" is a non-profit, tutoring, writing and publishing organization that encourages one-on-one attention to developing writing skills. "826" provides a network of volunteers for tutoring sessions, workshops and related programs for adults and children.

This handbook condenses the goals of the organization, arranged by subject: "Meeting Your Muse"; "You vs. Page One"; "Writing Through Pain"; and "Getting It Out There", fourteen chapters in a round table format, including a bonus chapter, "From the Mind, to the Internet, to the Book, to You." Some of the authors participating in this effort to "write oneself into existence", discussions of the memoir by those who do it best, include Jonathan Ames, Paul Collins, Stephen Elliott, Nick Flynn, Elizabeth Gilbert, Maxine Hong Kingston, Frank McCourt, Anthony Swofford and Tobias Wolff. The chapters address common problems, from inspiration to polished voice, assorted viewpoints offering perspectives and insights from every aspect of life. There is also a section on recommended reading, the history of the memoir and "history's strangest memoirs". (Exercises to complement the specific chapters are available online.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
It has been said that everyone has one good book in them. "The Autobiographer's Handbook: The 826 National Guide to Writing Your Memoir" is a collection of tips and advice from masterful writers on putting down one's life story onto paper, and in a format that would be appealing to read for your audiences. A basic writing course with a focus on memoirs, "The Autobiographer's Handbook" is a must for someone who wants the world to read their story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Don Edgers on March 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm one of these people who devoir memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies. I lke the idea of gatheing 38 contemporary memoirists to give their advice on writing memoirs.
Having written two memoirs and a pictorial history (Don Edgers), I can appreciate this book and the variety of opinions presented as there's no one formula fits all in writing in this genre.
Dave Eggers writes the introduction. I've read his heart-wrenching "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" which left me depressed. But this kind of writing appeals to a pretty large audience. I've got all of Frank McCourt's books And have read Tobias Wolf's tomes, but was treated to the views of 36 other authors - which I liked.
If you want a spectrum of views on writing a memoir, this book might give you the inspiration needed to get going.
I don't think the list price is worth it, though. Have your library order it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking to write your memoir/autobiography, buy this book! I bought it for a class I was taking in college, and I found myself wanting to highlight something on every page. I'm one of those people that hates marking up books, but there were so many pieces of good advice that could be applied to memoir specifically, or just writing in general, that I wanted to be able to go back and find them easily.

The book offers perspectives from lots of different authors, so there is something for everyone, I feel. Some of the advice from some of the writers wouldn't necessarily work for me, but I move on to the next perspective and, what do you know? I feel like the next author is speaking directly to me.

This book was so well put together that even had I not been writing a memoir, I would have enjoyed reading it. I highly recommend this to memoirists, or just writers in general.
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