How we Write – open access collection edited by Suzanne Conklin Akbari: thirteen essays on academic writing

How We Write – the open access collection edited by Suzanne Conklin Akbari, which includes thirteen short pieces on academic writing – is now available.

While free to download, it was not free to produce. It is also available to buy in paperback, or you can leave a donation when you download the book.


This little book arose spontaneously, in the late spring of 2015, when a series of conversations emerged — first in a university roundtable on graduate student dissertation-writing, and then in a rapidly proliferating series of blog posts — on the topic of how we write. One commentary generated another, each one characterized by enormous speed, eloquence, and emotional forthrightness. This collection is not about how TO write, but how WE write: unlike a prescriptive manual that promises to unlock the secret to efficient productivity, the contributors talk about their own writing processes, in all their messy, frustrated, exuberant, and awkward dis/order.

The contributors range from graduate students and recent PhDs to senior scholars working in the fields of medieval studies, art history, English literature, poetics, early modern studies, musicology, and geography. All are engaged in academic writing, but some of the contributors also publish in other genres, includes poetry and fiction. Several contributors maintain a very active online presence, including blogs and websites; all are committed to strengthening the bonds of community, both in person and online, which helps to explain the effervescent sense of collegiality that pervades the volume, creating linkages across essays and extending outward into the wide world of writers and readers.

Contributors include: Michael Collins, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Alexandra Gillespie, Alice Hutton Sharp, Asa Simon Mittman, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Maura Nolan, Richard H. Godden, Bruce Holsinger, Stuart Elden, Derek Gregory, Steve Mentz, and Dan Kline.

As one of the authors, I’m very grateful to Suzanne for the invitation and editing, and Eileen Joy and Chris Piuma for their production work. This is a book that does not seek to give advice, but to show how a range of people do things in a number of different ways. Please share widely…

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1 Response to How we Write – open access collection edited by Suzanne Conklin Akbari: thirteen essays on academic writing

  1. Pingback: Top posts on Progressive Geographies this week | Progressive Geographies

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