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On Writing

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  18 reviews
On Writing features missives from A. L. Kennedy's hugely popular Guardian blog. Readers and aspiring writers will have almost everything they need to know about the complexities of researching, writing, and publishing fiction from one of the funniest and most alert of our contemporary authors.

After six novels, five story collections and two books of non-fiction, and countl
Paperback, 376 pages
Published September 6th 2014 by Anansi International (first published March 7th 2013)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: MJ - even though he didn't actually like it.
[4.5] ... A few paragraphs added at the end since I first posted this.

In the blog posts which make up most of this book Ms Kennedy is very chatty and funny and good company. In moderation. The most I can manage of this book is 25% in a day. For even though I am a bit of a miserable cow already, her frequent asides about constant nagging minor illness and appearance-based low self-esteem drag me down. (Or perhaps they drag me down because I am a bit of a miserable cow already... and a sensitive
MJ Nicholls
Apr 25, 2013 marked it as sampled  ·  review of another edition
As entertaining and informative as AL Kennedy’s Guardian blogs are, releasing them in hardback alongside a few mishmash essays wasn’t really necessary. These pieces work well when doing the morning’s online rounds at your laptop, but sitting in a chair reading these blogs simply feels wrong—like wellingtons on a summer day or a grape in a curry. Guardian material is archived here. ...more
Falynn - the TyGrammarSaurus Rex
Interesting collection of blogs & essays about writing, & the process of writing, & the importance of the arts.

I always love to glimpse the inside of other writers' brains & this is well worth a read if you are a writer, at any level.

I feel seen & heard & inspired to return to my own work & my own words.
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
A book to be returned to time and again to graze among its wisdoms, especially the chapters on workshops and building character.
The blogs really needs several dozen sticky tabs to mark places of especial interest and A L Kennedy's dedication to her craft is such that I imagine many writers will feel inadequate, especially given the peripheral activities needed to supplement income earned from writing.
So much to ponder on, and those of her books I've not read for a while to return to.
Martin Raybould
Mostly a collection of blog entries but also some down to earth essays on being a writer & teaching writing to others. A honest insight into the process of putting words on the page as a kind of compulsive obsessive disorder. This is a condition that can't be cured but can be understood and, with perseverance, may even lead to success. Failing that it might at least result in the personal satisfaction of getting ideas out of your head and into the world. ...more
Caroline Deacon
I’ve been dipping into this book for a long time now. Part of it is the reproduction of her blog which was funny, interesting but ultimately a bit repetitive as is to be expected. Then there was a collection of talks - again interesting- particularly recommend the one on character - but again some repetition.
Finished it now but probably won’t dip in again
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The chapters have the telltale confessional and slightly repetitive tone of writing collected from an alternative use (in this case, blog entries and lectures). The book ends up with a truly satisfying and convincing argument for the power and importance of art. I enjoyed it very much.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing read! So relatable for any creative types, hilarious in parts and very moving in others.
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-read-books
Up there with Stephen King's On Writing for pure goodness and the thrill of wordsmithing
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Auf eher unkonventionelle Weise bin ich zu diesem Buch gekommen, nämlich mittels eines Gewinnspiels. Als Bonus ziert mein Exemplar eine aufmunternde Widmung der Autorin (sogar auf Deutsch!). Jedenfalls berichtet A. L. Kennedy über ihre seltsame Existenz als Schriftstellerin. Keine so romantische Form des Broterwerbs wie gängige Klischees suggerieren. Mit diesen Vorstellungen räumt sie auf gewitzte Art gründlich auf. Der größere Teil des Buchs besteht aus gesammelten Blog-Beiträgen, die über eine ...more
Julie Hartley
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most honest and interesting books on the craft of writing - and life as a writer - that I have read in a very long time. For readers who love A. L. Kennedy's work, this book offers insight into the experiences and ideas that have shaped her fiction. For readers interested in the writing life, A L. Kennedy is incredibly honest about the reality of writing as a career. Finally, the book explores what it means to be a creative artist, and why the arts matter so much in our world. There a ...more
Lee Kofman
Kennedy is a highly respected, very successful novelist and a stand-up comedian too. At the start of the book I was utterly taken by her quirky voice and hilarious sense of humour. But as the book progressed, more and more the tone changed into angry, simplistic tirades on politics. She began sounding overly self-righteous. Then the bitterness and sentimentality unfortunately overpowered the brilliance of her wit. Ah… and I learned very little about writing itself from this book, more about how ...more
Mark Donnelly
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend this book to anyone. Why?

Because I loved it.

I love it more than books that bored me to tears;
Dearer than Xbox, Everybody loves Raymond and cricket;
Beyond what can be valued, priceless and timeless;
No less than a walk on the beach and a cup of hot chocolate;
As much as anyone as ever loved or been loved;
A love that makes me change careers and cry poor;
Beyond all manner of design and divine words, I love you.

Well done.
Jer Hogan
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a slow burner with the blogs first giving a negative view of the life of a writer - and it does sound tough. In the later essays there are more positive aspects discussed and overall there are some interesting insights into the life of a writer. I will definitely check out her novels.
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Alison Louise Kennedy is a Scottish writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is known for a characteristically dark tone, a blending of realism and fantasy, and for her serious approach to her work. She occasionally contributes columns and reviews to UK and European newspapers including the fictional diary of her pet parrot named Charlie.

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