The Joy of Writing: A Guide for Writers Disguised as a Literary Memoir

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Doubleday Canada, 2003 - Creative writing - 336 pages
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Drawing on his fifty years as an award-winning journalist and author of some of the finest books on Canadian history, Pierre Berton has written a witty and practical guide for writers. With almost every book a bestseller, clearly this writer knows what it takes to succeed in the publishing world. From the all-important rule of “knowing your audience” and other essential writing tips to down-to-earth advice on dealing with agents, publishers, and editors, The Joy of Writing covers every aspect of non-fiction writing and includes interviews with twenty-seven of Canada’s leading writers. Illustrated with more than thirty manuscript pages from Pierre Berton’s own works.

Includes Interviews With: Alex Barris • Ted Barris • Jack Batten • Fred Bodsworth • June Callwood • Stevie Cameron • Robert Collins • Elaine Dewar • Will Ferguson • Trent Frayne • Bob Fulford • Charlotte Gray • Richard Gwyn • Stephen Kimber • Ken McGoogan • Roy McGregor • Linda McQuaig • Farley Mowat • Knowlton Nash • Peter Newman • Stephanie Nolen • John Sawatsky • Russell Smith • Edna Staebler • Walter Stewart • Betty Jane Wylie • Jan Wong


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About the author (2003)

Pierre Berton was one of Canada’s most popular and prolific authors. From narrative histories and popular culture, to picture and coffee table books to anthologies, to stories for children to readable, historical works for youth, many of his fifty books are now Canadian classics.

Born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years. He spent four years in the army, rising from private to captain/instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston. He spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily. He wrote columns for and was editor of Maclean’s magazine, appeared on CBC’s public affairs program “Close-Up” and was a permanent fixture on “Front Page Challenge” for 39 years. He was a columnist and editor for the Toronto Star and was a writer and host of a series of CBC programs.

Pierre Berton received over 30 literary awards including the Governor-General’s Award for Creative Non-Fiction (three times), the Stephen Leacock Medal of Humour, and the Gabrielle Leger National Heritage Award. He received two Nellies for his work in broadcasting, two National Newspaper awards, and the National History Society’s first award for “distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history.” For his immense contribution to Canadian literature and history, he was awarded more than a dozen honourary degrees, is a member of the Newsman’s Hall of Fame, and is a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Pierre Berton passed away in Toronto on November 30, 2004.


From the Hardcover edition.

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