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Books on Writing Resources

 girl readingBooks for your Memoir Writing Journey


Memoir writers have a big task ahead—a journey of courage, passion, and determination. We need to be inspired, and we need to learn the craft of writing well. These books are great resources to get you started, and each one may lead you to another gem. Enjoy the journey!

Start reading memoirs, and begin with this list.



Allison, Dorothy         Bastard Out of Carolina (published as fiction, but drawn from her life.)

Angelou, Maya           I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings & other works

Balakian, Peter            Black Dog of Fate

Bragg, Rick                 All Over But the Shoutin’; Ava’s Man

Conway, Jill Kerr        When Memory Speaks; The Road from Coorain

Fremont, Helen           After Long Silence

Harrison, Katherine     The Kiss

Heilbrun, Carolyn       Writing a Woman’s Life

Hoffman, Eva             Lost in Translation

Gornick, Vivian          Fierce Attachments

Karr, Mary                  The Liar’s Club; Cherry; Lit

Lauck, Jennifer           Blackbird; Still Waters

McCourt, Frank           Angela’s Ashes; Tis

Mead, Margaret          Blackberry Winter

Merton, Thomas          Seven Story Mountain

Myers, Linda Joy         Don’t Call Me Mother–A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness  

Norris, Kathleen          Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

O’Faolin, Nuala          Are You Somebody?

Rhodes, Richard         A Hole in the World

Strayed, Cheryl           Wild

Williams, Terry Tempest  Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

Wolff, Geoffrey          The Duke of Deception

Wolff, Tobias              This Boy’s Life

Woolf, Virginia           Moments of Being



Books on Writing, Writing as Healing


Adams, Kathleen        The Write Way to Wellness

Barrington, Judith       Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art

Cameron, Julia            The Artist’s Way

Cron, Lisa                    Wired for Story

De Salvo, Louise         Writing as a Way of Healing

Gornick, Vivian            The Situation and The Story

Heilbrun, Carolyn       Writing a Woman’s Life

Kephart, Beth              Handling the Truth–On the Writing of Memoir

Lamott, Anne              Bird by Bird

Ledoux, Denis             Turning Memories into Memoirs

Myers, Linda Joy        The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story

Pennebaker, James      Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions

Rainer, Tristine           Your Life as Story: Writing the New Autobiography

Ueland, Brenda           If You Want to Write


Jerry Waxler, an NAMW advisory board member, has reviewed the various ways that memoirists write about family on his blog The Memory Writers Network. Be sure to check out his list of memoirs!