Writers on Writers Giveaway


We have a new giveaway! Enter for a chance to win the complete set of Writers on Writers, a series of brief, personal books by contemporary writers about an author, past or present, who has inspired or influenced them in some way.

Each book gives the reader a window into both the life and work of the chosen author and the mind of the writer. In On Elizabeth Bishop, Colm Tóibín highlights the parallels between his life and that of his subject, particularly in their experience of loss and exile. He traces her footsteps to Nova Scotia, Key West, and Brazil and shows the reader how her influence helped to shape him as a novelist. Compared to Tóibín’s measured, deeply personal account, Alexander McCall Smith’s contribution, What W.H. Auden Can Do For You, is a playful, charming take on the manifold ways that Auden has been a guiding force in his life. McCall Smith calls him one of the best guides on how to live. He shows us how he has been inspired by Auden and how each of us can benefit from his work.

One of the most famous nineteenth-century novelists, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has provided inspiration to many. On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Pulitzer-prize winning critic Michael Dirda is not only an engaging introduction to the author and his work, it is a rare glimpse into the best-known of all Sherlockian groups, the Baker Street Irregulars, of which Dirda is a member. Another famous nineteenth-century author, Walter Whitman, is the subject of Pulitzer-prize winning poet C.K. Williams. On Whitman explores the reasons why Leaves of Grass continues to inspire. Williams shows what Whitman had in common with other poets of his time and how his influence continues to be felt today.

Finally, renowned essayist Phillip Lopate describes Sontag as one of the “foremost interpreters of…our recent contemporary moment” in Notes on Sontag. While admiring her free-thinking originality, Lopate is critical of her tendency toward exaggeration, feeling that it undermines her common sense. Lopate provides a clever and enjoyable reflection on his chosen writer through a series of essays, a form used by Sontag herself.

Writers on Writers is necessary reading for anyone interested in the creative process and the often-complex relationship between writers. To enter for a chance to win the complete series, please follow the directions in the RaffleCopter box below. Winners will be selected on or around May 19, 2015.

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The Game is Afoot!

Happy Pub Date to Michael Dirda and On Conan Doyle, the third installment of PUP’s ‘Writers on Writers’ series!    Two great new Q&A’s with our very own Mystery Man have just appeared in the Seattle Times and Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Exactly one month from today is the premiere of the new RDJ/Jude Law Sherlock Holmes film, “A Game of Shadows.”  Paging Professor Moriarty!

Save Sherlock! Conan Doyle’s former estate in danger

It isn’t quite as sensationalist as that.  There’s no foul play afoot; merely the neglect of the ages.  Undershaw, Conan Doyle’s estate in Surrey, remains at risk of being subdivided into eight residential apartments unless someone lays claim to a literary museum on-site.  The 1893 home was built for Conan Doyle’s ailing wife, Louise, who died there just 13 years later.  The house was also the setting for the courtship of Sir Arthur’s beloved Jean Leckie (soon to be his second wife after Louise’s death.)   To add to the property’s literary pedigree, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” – perhaps the most famously brooding of the Holmes stories – was written there in 1902 and Bram Stoker (you know, the other giant of  Gothic Vic Lit) was a guest in 1907.  Tangent Alert: Now there’s a kooky literary pastiche in the making, a la Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, that I could feasibly get behind since both fictional characters share a tenuous historical connective thread.

How can they possibly think of converting Undershaw into anything but a museum, you ask?  Read on from our friends at the BBC and don your deerstalker in solidarity.

For the moment, take heart:  Michael Dirda’s long-awaited entry in Princeton’s Writers on Writers series, On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling,  is out this  November.  Just the thing to while away those dreary autumnal hours with a good pipe and a brandy.