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Extended Audio Sample The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (4,465 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annie Dillard Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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With color, irony, and sensitivity, Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard illuminates the dedication, absurdity, and daring that is the writer’s life. As it probes and exposes, examines and analyzes, The Writing Life offers deeper insight into one of the most mysterious of professions.

A gregarious recluse, Dillard has passed many days, weeks, and months in remote locations doing something she claims to hate: writing. The act of writing is quite the undertaking, as the author struggles to decide whether she has found her subject, hit a dead end, or come up with a truly inspired bit of literature. Here, on top of providing a glimpse into her own life and writing experiences, Dillard offers wisdom to aspiring and established writers, urging them to maintain their passion and commitment to the work.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Annie Dillard is a wonderful writer, and The Writing Life is full of joys.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • The Writing Life is as slim and potent as the Tao Te Ching, that ancient Chinese manual on the art of living…You want to copy out what it says, tape it to your typewriter, fix it with a heavy magnet to your fridge. Her words give courage. They make the daring life seem worthwhile.”

    USA Today

  • “For nonwriters, it is a glimpse into the trials and satisfactions of a life spent with words. For writers, it is a warm, rambling conversation with a stimulating and extraordinarily talented colleague.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A kind of spiritual Strunk & White, a small and brilliant guidebook to the landscape of a writer’s task…Dillard brings the same passion and connective intelligence to this narrative as she has to her other work.”

    Boston Globe

  • The Writing Life is a spare volume…that has the power and force of a detonating bomb…A book bursting with metaphors and prose bristling with incident.”

    Detroit News

  • “Her book is…scattered with pearls. Each reader will be attracted to different bright parts…Gracefully and simply told, these little stories illuminate the writing life…Her advice to writers is encouraging and invigorating.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “In this collection of short essays, the author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood probes the sorcery that levitates her own writing, discussing with clear eye and wry wit how, where, and why she writes.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Pulitzer Prize–winning author Annie Dillard whimsically explores the process of writing, delving fearlessly into the subconscious and offering practical wisdom…Gilbert imparts Dillard’s examination of the creative process and the heights and depths of an author’s daily struggle with words in a way that exalts.”


  • Winner of the 1990 Ambassador Book Award for American Arts & Letters

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Roxanne | 2/19/2014

    " This book is rich in anecdotes, pessimism, advice, the romance of writing and personal stories. Its biggest contribution to my life has been that it encouraged me to be a bolder writer. Dillard's words on "not hoardin gone's writing" and sending it out into the world have truly been life-changing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carmen something | 2/14/2014

    " In my path to understand my art I think of oil spils on water. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Mark | 2/11/2014

    " As a writer with only one published novel I am always looking to learn more about the writing life, looking to hone my skills, to improve. I had hoped to glean some rare look into how to write skilfully from Dillard's writing. This 111 page book took me three days to read (normally I would have finished in 30 minutes) however I wanted to absorb each gem of knowledge, and so kept reading intently, taking breaks hoping it would get better the next time I picked it up. Most writers seem to spend an inordinate amount of time doing anything to avoid writing Dillard seemed to spend most of her time avoiding writing about writing, and if that was not annoying enough _ I wanted the good stuff - the time she did spend on the writing life was so depressing that if I was reading this book in hopes of becoming a writer I'd have probably gone a slit my wrists. What a complete waste of time this book was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rene | 2/6/2014

    " added to my inspiration and drive to write. "

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