Life writing anthologies?
February 28, 2009 2:34 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend any life writing anthologies?

Hello all. I'm on a creative writing course, and am about to start its Life Writing module. At the end of the module, I will have to write a 1500 word piece of biography or autobiography (using the techniques of creative writing - not a dry academic piece).

I was wondering if you could recommend an anthology of short pieces of life writing that would help me on this module? It would be especially helpful if you explained why your recommendation was worth investigating, rather than just posting titles and Amazon links.

(I'd prefer biography to autobiography, but all recommendations appreciated.)
posted by laumry to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm curious: Could you further explain life-writing? When you couple (auto)biography with the techniques of creative writing, are you talking about creative non-fiction? What is the difference between the two?

I ask because many academic texts (I immediately think of Shirley Brice Heath's Ways With Words) employ "creative writing techniques"; academic writing doesn't have to be dry by default.

So I guess that my question is one of genre. If you clarify that, I might be able to offer some suggestions.
posted by rockstar at 7:50 AM on February 28, 2009

Best answer: So if I am reading you right, you are asking for an anthology of biographical/autobiographical essays that are entertaining rather than academic-- mass market rather than textbook.

You can't get more entertaining than David Sedaris and most of his essays are stand alone pieces. Me Talk Pretty One Day includes some of his best stories about his childhood.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:20 AM on February 28, 2009

Best answer: I absolutely loved The Norton Book Of Women's Lives, which has chapter-sized extracts from a lot of autobiographies, oral histories and so on. It could be just what you're looking for.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:09 PM on February 28, 2009

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