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Amitava Kumar's Every Day I Write the Book is for academic writers what Annie Dillard's The Writing Life and Stephen King's On Writing are for creative writers. Alongside Kumar's interviews with an array of scholars whose distinct writing offers inspiring examples for students and academics alike, the book's pages are full of practical advice about everything from how to write criticism to making use of a kitchen timer. Communication, engagement, honesty: these are the aims and sources of good writing. Storytelling, attention to organization, solid work habits: these are its tools. Kumar's own voice is present in his essays about the writing process and in his perceptive and witty observations on the academic world. A writing manual as well as a manifesto, Every Day I Write the Book will interest and guide aspiring writers everywhere.
“Every Day I Write the Book is a persuasive instance of the sort of rare nonfiction performance Amitava Kumar invokes within its pages; he at once defines and exemplifies a vital modern nonfiction tradition. Full of pragmatic analyses and recommendations, this enthralling, important book will prove to be compelling and useful across many audiences.” Robert Polito
“Amitava Kumar's Every Day I Write the Book compels a cluster of adjectives—eclectic, ruminative, associative, probing, and personal—all of which, taken together, only begin to describe this unique writing sensibility. Turning the pages we find ourselves riding shotgun through the reading and writing life of a true cosmopolitan intellectual. Kumar instructs and inspires, running on all cylinders.” Sven Birkerts
"A guide for academic writers that is also relevant to anyone who cares about fine prose. . . . An engaging, perceptive companion for all writers." Kirkus Reviews
"An inventive essay collection . . . a celebration of 'the value, the ease, and also the excitement of crafting writing that hasn’t been produced to please a committee.' Grad students and tenure seekers will appreciate the support Kumar’s insightful and intellectually nimble book offers, even as they buckle down to the task at hand—satisfying that committee of readers." Publishers Weekly
Amitava Kumar is Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College and the author of numerous books, including Lunch with a Bigot; A Matter of Rats; and Nobody Does the Right Thing, all also published by Duke University Press; and most recently, Immigrant, Montana: A Novel.
Hua Hsu began contributing to The New Yorker in 2014 and became a staff writer in 2017. He is the author of A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific. He has previously written for Artforum, The Atlantic, Grantland, Slate, and The Wire. His work has been anthologized in “Best Music Writing” and “Best African American Essays,” and his 2012 essay on suburban Chinatowns was a finalist for a James Beard Award for food writing. He also served on the editorial board of “A New Literary History of America” (2009) and was formerly a fellow at the New America Foundation. Hsu is currently an associate professor of English at Vassar College and serves on the executive board of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.