Writers and Their Teachers, edited by Dale Salwak

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Writers and Their Teachers edited by Dale Salwak (Bloomsbury, May 2023) is an enlightening collection of essays by 20 different world-renowned authors, delving into the influential figures who shaped their writing journeys. The book gives a diverse range of perspectives, allowing for an anthology that many will enjoy reading.

The anthology contains contributions from twenty different writers spanning various genres, such as poets, biographers, historians, novelists (including a detective novelist), and book reviewers. Some of the essays adopt a more academic tone, focusing on how specific teachers propelled these authors towards success in their careers. I’ll be honest, some of those essays were simply not very interesting to me, especially when I was unfamiliar with the writer.

I really did enjoy the more personal essays. These centered around the authors’ experiences with a teacher in early childhood or with a particular individual that, as one essayist put it, “made him feel adequate to the task.” These narratives provided a heartfelt and intimate glimpse into the formative years of a writer, showcasing the profound impact that certain individuals had on their development. Such an individual can be labeled a teacher when he or she instills confidence in the writer, either as a person or as a writer or both. The personal touch in these essays resonated with me.

While I was familiar with a handful of the essayists, my lack of familiarity with the others did not diminish my interest in the essays. The collection effectively illustrates how a lifetime of interactions and influences shapes a writer’s desire to write. As for selecting the teachers who have most impacted me personally, it is a thought-provoking exercise. There are so many people who have influenced my self-confidence in writing, and I’m grateful for all of them.

So, now I pose the question back to you: If you were to select the teachers who have most impacted you, who would you choose? I am genuinely curious to hear your thoughts.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance review copy of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Reviewed on June 9, 2023

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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