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UMP Celebrates National Writing Month

By: Elena Mills | Date: November 3, 2023 | Tags: Writing, Theme Month
UMP Celebrates National Writing Month

November begins National Writing Month! This month celebrates writers and their writing process, as well as aiming to promote creative writing around the world. Around the world, seasoned and aspiring authors alike celebrate writing month through a challenge called NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) in which they attempt to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November.

Writing 50,000 words isn’t the only way to celebrate, however. Here at the University of Michigan Press, we will be highlighting the most relevant titles from our Writers on Writing series.

Millions of Suns: On Writing and Life by Sharon Fagan McDermott and M.C. Benner Dixon

Our newest book in the series, Millions of Suns, is an open invitation for all writers to create something new. Each chapter features a pair of essays that act as a dialogue between the two authors, and each addresses a specific writing element, such as metaphor, inspiration, imagery, or surprise. These essays reveal how two very different writers approach their craft, from the foundation up. They explore ideas of familiarity, race, climate change, and ideas of memory. In these essays, Authors McDermott and Benner Dixon share practical writing advice, as well as prompts to spark the creative process, and find one's authentic voice. This text is ideal for classrooms, professional development, or just daily writing, with a fundamental message that any level of writer can connect with.

A Braided Heart: Essays on Writing and Form by Brenda Miller

A Braided Heart provides a friendly, personal, and smart guide to the writing life. It also offers clear and original instructions on craft elements that are most relevant to today's forms in creative nonfiction, such as the short-short, the braided form, and the hermit crab essay. As an expert in these forms, Miller gives writers practical advice on how to sustain and invigorate their writing practices, while also encouraging them to explore their own writing lives.

Going to the Tigers: Essays and Exhortations by Robert Cohen

Going to the Tigers is a funny and perceptive collection through which Robert Cohen shares his thoughts on the writing process, and how he puts these prescriptions into action. He discusses how to rant successfully as an essayist and novelist, how to achieve your own style, the process of character creation, and how to manage one's own identity with the idea of being "a writer" in time and space. Cohen, with an excellent grasp of allusion, shows readers how to master the elements of fiction through the work of writers who influenced his own development. The first part of the text teaches writing, and the second shows essays that demonstrate the elements coming together. Rooted in his own experiences, Going to the Tigers shows readers how to use their influences and experiences to create bold, personal, and individual work.

Still On Call by Richard Stern

Still on Call is the sixth and final collection of critically acclaimed novels by Richard Stern. He describes this collection as "orderly miscellany." This text is an aggregation of reflections, essays, reviews, reportage, commentary, and observations on writing and fellow writers, life, and contemporary culture. Pieces within Still On Call contain a range of works that include reflections on becoming a writer in the 1940's to assessments of major writers and colleagues with contemporary blogs. This collection is intended to represent the culmination of sixty years of writing life, but also act as provocative entertainment. Stern is a prolific writer whose work both educates and enthralls.

American Audacity: Literary Essays North and South by Christopher Benfey

As one of the foremost critics in contemporary American letters, Christopher Benfey has long been known for his essay work. His writing has helped reimagine the American Literary Canon. In American Audacity, Benfey gathers his finest writings on famous American authors and presents his readers with a thorough, astute, and at times dramatic presentation of American literature analysis. Benfey's interests range from art, to literature, to social history, but this collection in particular focuses on American writers and the ways the American identity informs their work. American Audacity is broken into three sections: "Northerners,'' “Southerners," and "The Union Reconsidered," and in such explores old, modern, and more contemporary authors.

The Left-Handed Story: Writing and the Writer’s Life by Nancy Willard

The Left-Handed Story is an eclectic collection of essays presented by award-winning poet, novelist, and children's author Nancy Willard. In this collection, Willard presents on a variety of diverse topics, including writers' different inspirations, fairy tales, and the origins and meanings of inspiration. These essays will appeal to writers, avid readers, and those who are fans of Willard's work. Also included is an interview with Harry Roseman, an assistant to the artist and filmmaker Joseph Cornell.

A Critic’s Journey by Ilan Stavans

Ilan Stavans has been a predominant figure for cultural discussion and criticism his entire career. In A Critic's Journey, he takes his own Jewish and Hispanic upbringing with an autobiographical focus, and explores the relationship between the two cultures from his own experience, as well as others. Stavans has been a hailed voice for Latino culture, but as a Jew and a Caucasian, he is also an outsider to that culture — something that has sharpened his perspective (as well as critic's points against him). In this book of essays, he looks at the creative process from that view point, exploring everything from the translation of Don Quixote to Hispanic anti-semitism and the Holocaust in Latin America.

Make Us Wave Back: Essays on Poetry and Influence by Michael Collier

Michael Collier explores the influence that made him one of the most distinguished poets of his generation. Make Us Wave Back includes essays on a wide variety of subjects, including literary correspondence of William Maxwell, the meaning of the author's own role as a poet laureate of Maryland, the journal of Louise Bogan, and many more. Collier's book is refreshing because it refuses to conform to one aesthetic or topic and in doing so he brightly illuminates the art of poetry.

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This post was written by Elena Mills, a sophomore student at the University of Michigan. She is pursuing a double major in Arts and the Ideas in the Humanities and English.