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William Knowlton Zinsser
William Zinsser, a writer, editor, and teacher, is a fourth-generation New Yorker, born in 1922. His 18 books, which range in subject from music to baseball to American travel, include several widely read books about writing.On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, first... show more

William Zinsser, a writer, editor, and teacher, is a fourth-generation New Yorker, born in 1922. His 18 books, which range in subject from music to baseball to American travel, include several widely read books about writing.On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, first published in 1976, has sold almost 1.5 million copies to three generations of writers, editors, journalists, teachers and students.Writing to Learn which uses examples of good writing in science, medicine and technology to demonstrate that writing is a powerful component of learning in every subject.Writing Places, a memoir recalling the enjoyment and gratitude the places where William Zinsser has done his writing and his teaching and the unusual people he encountered on that life journey.Mr. Zinsser began his career in 1946 at the New York Herald Tribune, where he was a writer, editor, and critic. In 1959 he left to become a freelance writer and has since written regularly for leading magazines. From 1968 to 1972 he was a columnist for Life. During the 1970s he was at Yale, where, besides teaching nonfiction writing and humor writing, he was master of Branford College. In 1979 he returned to New York and was a senior editor at the Book-of-the-Month Club until 1987, when he went back to freelance writing. He teaches at the New School and at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is an adviser on writing to schools, colleges, and other organizations. He holds honorary degrees from Wesleyan University, Rollins College, and the University of Southern Indian and is a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library.William Zinsser's other books include Mitchell & Ruff, a profile of jazz musicians Dwike Mitchell and Willie Ruff; American Places, a pilgrimage to 16 iconic American sites; Spring Training, about the spring training camp of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988; and Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs; and he is the Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir. A jazz pianist and songwriter, he wrote a musical revue, What's the Point, which was performed off Broadway in 2003.Mr. Zinsser lives in his home town with his wife, the educator and historian Caroline Zinsser. They have two children, Amy Zinsser, a business executive, and John Zinsser, a painter and teacher.
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Birth date: October 07, 1922
Category:
Nonfiction
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Community Reviews
ybrikman
ybrikman rated it 6 years ago
The best book I've ever read about writing. Every high school and college student should be required to read this. It's honest, well written, and full of stories and examples that help you remember the key advice. I typically save good quotes while reading a book; in this case, I'm afraid that I've ...
TCWriter
TCWriter rated it 7 years ago
I first read On Writing Well as a college student 26 years ago, and because I was a photojournalism major, I remember being impressed by what amounted to my first "writer's book."Zinsser knows how to craft a sentence and make a point, and the overall impression is one of being taught by a patient, ...
Jill
Jill rated it 8 years ago
As I read William Zinsser’s On Writing Well, I repeatedly thought of Ratatouille, an animated film from Pixar Studios. True, it’s a tenuous connection between the two works. Zinsser’s book was published more than three decades prior to the theatrical release of Ratatouille. And Zinnser’s intended au...
Rowena's Reviews
Rowena's Reviews rated it 8 years ago
Brilliant book!I definitely learned a lot of extremely useful advice from this book. I learned about the writing mistakes that I was making, and also how to enrich my own writing. Zinsser's tone and sense of humour made reading the book fun and interesting. This is the kind of book I would re-read e...
janeg
janeg rated it 8 years ago
I like books on writing. I even have a separate shelf for them. My collection of books on writing has been growing steadily even though I don't write at all. Most books on writing, even when posing as style manuals, represent a way of life, a philosophy on how a soul should read or be read. Reading ...
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