William Zinsser''s journey to all the places where he has done his writing and his teaching begins in 1946, with his first job at the New York Herald Tribune, a community of legendary journalists and oddballs, in its postwar years of glory. Next came 11 years of freelance writing for magazines, mainly covering the turbulent 1960s for Life, a period that found the writer and his typewriter perched in many unusual locations.
After that he spent a decade at Yale University, where his office as master of Branford College was beneath a 44-bell carillon. At Yale he originated his famous "nonfiction workshop," which would launch the careers of many exceptional writers and editors. That course led to his classic book, On Writing Well, which he wrote during the summer of 1974 in a crude shed in Connecticut. In this new memoir Zinsser recalls the processes that went into creating that original edition and revising it over the next 30 years to keep pace with changes in the language and culture of America. His journey brings him back to New York City and to writing articles and books in quirky rented offices, one of which had a fire pole.
Written with humor and with gratitude for a lifetime of change and self-discovery, relishing a rich cast of characters that ranges from Yale''s president Kingman Brewster to the actor Peter Sellers and the gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Writing Places never loses its anchor in the craft of writing—how writing is taught, learned and finally brought to a high level of enjoyment.
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