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Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction [Paperback]

by Sondra Perl, Mimi Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 8, 2006 0618370757 978-0618370757 1
This innovative book teaches students how to write informative and engaging nonfiction that emphasizes voice and creativity and incorporates observation, research, memory, and point of view. Writing True serves as a valuable core textbook or a supplement for any creative writing or composition course with an emphasis on creative nonfiction. A solid pedagogical approach shows students how to be true to capturing the real world with integrity and creativity. The first part of the book, "Writing Creative Nonfiction," offers ten chapters of practical guidance, skill-building exercises, and ideas to help writers develop their creativity. The second part of the book, "Reading Creative Nonfiction," contains an anthology divided into Memoir, Personal Essay, Portrait, Essay of Place, and Literary Journalism. Selections include works by Nora Ephron, Tracy Kidder, Eric Liu, David Sedaris, and other well-known masters of the creative nonfiction genre. The anthology also includes a section entitled "Stories of Craft," with four prominent writers, including John Irving and Sue Miller, describing the challenges and rewards of writing creative nonfiction.

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Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction + In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction + Tell It Slant, 2nd Edition
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sondra is the author of six books, among them, Landmark Essays on Writing Process; Felt Sense: Writing with the Body; 'Stepping on My Brother's Head' and Other Secrets Your English Professor Never Told You, creative nonfiction essays written by well-known writing teachers across the county and co-edited with Charles Schuster; and On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate, a memoir that tells the story of what happened to Sondra when she found herself teaching Austrian teachers whose parents had been Nazis. This book was a finalist in the 2006 Independent Booksellers Award for memoir and led to the creation of the Holocaust Educators Network, which Sondra now directs at the Memorial Library in New York City. A professor of English at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Sondra has received numerous awards and honors including a Guggenheim fellowship and the Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation. For more info, go to

Mimi is the author of five books, most recently, Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of My Father's German Village, a winner of the ForeWord Magazine for Best Memoir in 2008. Other books include Writing for Many Roles; Writer's Craft, Teacher's Art; and Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed, a memoir about life in a long marriage, what you get and give up for it that was a JCC Book Club Pick for nonfiction in 2002. Mimi's short work has appeared in over fifty venues, both academic (College English, English Journal, Chronicles of Higher Ed) and literary (The Missouri Review, Agni, Brevity, Tikkun, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, Arts & Culture, River Teeth, Calyx, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times). Seven essays have been Notables in Best American Essays. Professor Emerita in Writing at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Mimi teaches writing workshops in creative nonfiction nationwide and abroad. For more information, go to

Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 1 edition (September 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618370757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618370757
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful introduction.... September 29, 2006
I am currently using this as my primary text in a writing class. The students respond well to the authors' consistently upbeat tone, and variety of suggestions for writing (titled 'ways in' at the end of each chapter). There could be some better integration between the instructional part and the rather slim anthology, but on the other hand, the anthology section of any textbook dates it rather quickly, and it's often useful to share with students other samples of fiction chosed by different taste (mine) rather than the authors'. There are plenty of tools for generating writing ideas, and the workshop chapter (chapter six) is one of the most useful I've seen in any writing textbook--instead of just giving warnings about being nice and supportive, they offer a four-round response session which my students have responded to very positively, and a checklist of 20 things to look for or consider in improving a piece.

My only criticism is not really of the book, but of the textbook's companion website. It's difficult to navigate for students, doesn't offer that much, and offers only locked pdfs--what if I want to print out a copy for myself (the professor) to jot a few notes on? Can't do it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nonfiction Writer's Essential February 16, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm in the middle of my Nonfiction Workshop class, but it's already abundantly clear that this book is essential to Nonfiction writing. The book breaks down terms and details about how to start and move through your nonfiction piece. It also includes essays from other writers as examples. This book is laid out great to take notes, and fits in purses and back pockets as easily as backpacks. I HIGHLY recommend this book for how it delivers ideas and pieces and how easily everything a nonfiction writer needs to know comes together at their fingertips.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! September 27, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book goes through the craft of creative nonfiction with excellent short examples. It's a wonderful basic book for anyone thinking about writing a memoir or personal essays. Creative writing 101 with lots of excellent writing exercises to get things moving and on track. Bravo to the authors!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value! February 6, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a text book for a class, and it was a LOT cheaper than if I had bought it at a bookstore. It arrived in good time and in good condition.
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