I spent almost 20 years studying writing through the International Women's Writing Guild and many workshops. Among my personal mentors have been D.M. Thomas (The White Hotel), Ted Conover (New Jack: Guarding Sing Sing), Sallie Bingham (Passion and Prejudice: A Family Memoir) and June Gould (The Writer in All of Us: Writing From Our Childhood Memories.) As a result, my own book, author of Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir, was published successfully. These are some of the best books that helped me learn my craft.
by Vivian Gornick
I learned from this book the crucial difference between the situation, and the story, as the title implies. Just as useful for fiction as personal narrative, because understanding this principle is necessary to both forms.
by Anne Lamott
I really love her chapter called "Shitty First Drafts." It always reminds me that when I'm writing a first draft, I should just let loose and tell the editor in my head to go take a hike. The first draft is act; the following drafts are art. Also a wealth of other info pertaining to writing and life.
by Brenda Ueland
A Classic. One of my favorites; I return to it again and again. Reminds me that "Writing is not a performance but a generosity."
by Susan M. Tiberghien
This is a new book by one of my mentors, a very Jungian approach to writing. As much about mindfulness as it is about writing.
by Natalie Goldberg
Especially if you're just starting out, it's hard to think about writing without reading Natalie Goldberg. She cuts right to the heart of the matter. If this books for you, I encourage you to explore the whole series.
by Ralph Keyes
Well, I love anything that helps me to be less afraid, and since writing can be scary, this is a must read. It was very helpful to me in the early stages of my writing.
by Ceci Miller-Kritsberg, John Lee
This book fascinated me, and opened me to the concept that writing comes out of the body, not the mind. I've recommended this book to many, many writers.
by Tillie Olsen
Another classic, especially important for women who have been silenced by their culture or their family responsibilities or the demands of their job.
by Judith Barrington
Essential reading for anyone working on her memoir. I referred to it often while writing "Sixtyfive Roses."
by Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Janet Burroway
I'm working on my first novel, so this is one of the books I'm reading right now. Like a complete Master's course on Fiction, in a book.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Heather Summerhayes Cariou
As a child, Heather Summerhayes Cariou dreamed of becoming both a writer and a ballerina. When she learned the fates of the Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, she chose ballet over writing, and ultimately became an actress. As the daughter of the founders of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Ms. Cariou has been involved in fund-raising and promotion for over forty years. She is notorious for her ability to prescribe the right self-help book to anyone she’s known for more than ten minutes, and is the author of Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir.
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