Writing Life
Annie Dillard, Janet Stevens

Book cover image

Narrated By: Tavia Gilbert

Duration: 2 hours and 37 minutes

What to expect

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 Lifeoffers 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.


Biography: writers, Biography: general, Gender studies: women and girls, Memoirs, Literature: history and criticism

Listen to a sample

“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.”