shopping_cart

A Swallow Press Book

Spirituality and the Writer
A Personal Inquiry

By Thomas Larson

In Spirituality and the Writer, Thomas Larson offers an astute examination of the craft and artistry needed to successfully render faith, doubt, and transcendent experience onto the page. From Thomas Merton to Annie Dillard, Cheryl Strayed to Mother Teresa, Larson defines the genre of spiritual memoir broadly, creating a powerful resource for writers, teachers, students, and anyone with an interest in spirit-seeking literature. Larson’s captivating book is both a toolbox and an inspiration.”

Dinty W. Moore, author of The Mindful Writer

“Thomas Larson is a first-rate scholar and writer. Spirituality and the Writer is a book for anyone interested in spiritual writing, as well as for anyone wishing to live a well-considered life.”

Lee Martin, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Bright Forever

“Reading Spirituality and the Writer is like dream-walking in the tracks of a master guide to the sublime. Larson’s inquiry into the realm of authentic spiritual writing creates a tableau of the erudite, the creative, and the spiritual. Not only will I return to this book but to every work that Larson plumbs through his expansive lens of the spiritual writer and the unmoored soul.”

Kathryn Winograd, author of Phantom Canyon: Essays of Reclamation

Praise for The Memoir and the Memoirist:
“This thoughtfully reasoned and lucidly written book delves further into the dynamics of the new memoir than anything I know of, and is sure to spark discussion, help guide would-be practitioners, and bring much–needed illumination to a vexed subject.”

Phillip Lopate

Today, the surprisingly elastic form of the memoir embraces subjects that include dying, illness, loss, relationships, and self-awareness. Writing to reveal the inner self—the pilgrimage into one’s spiritual and/or religious nature—is a primary calling. Contemporary memoirists are exploring this field with innovative storytelling, rigorous craft, and new styles of confessional authorship. Now, Thomas Larson brings his expertise as a critic, reader, and teacher to the boldly evolving and improvisatory world of spiritual literature.

In his book-length essay Spirituality and the Writer, Larson surveys the literary insights of authors old and new who have shaped religious autobiography and spiritual memoir—from Augustine to Thomas Merton, from Peter Matthiessen to Cheryl Strayed. He holds them to an exacting standard: they must render transcendent experience in the writing itself. Only when the writer’s craft prevails can the fleeting and profound personal truths of the spirit be captured. Like its predecessor, Larson’s The Memoir and the Memoirist, Spirituality and the Writer will find a home in writing classrooms and book groups, and be a resource for students, teachers, and writers who seek guidance with exploring their spiritual lives.

Thomas Larson is a critic, memoirist, and essayist and the author of three books: The Sanctuary of Illness: A Memoir of Heart Disease, The Saddest Music Ever Written: The Story of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” and The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading and Writing Personal Narrative. For twenty years, he has been a staff writer for the San Diego Reader.More info →

Order a print copy

Hardcover · $21.56 ·
Pre-Order

Retail price: $26.95 · Save 20% ($21.56)

Cover of Spirituality and the Writer

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon

Requests

Review Copy

This book is not yet available for desk or examination copy requests. Please check back soon.

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

Formats

Hardcover
978-0-8040-1212-6
Retail price: $26.95, T.
Release date: March 2019
182 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights:  World

Electronic
978-0-8040-4104-1
Release date: March 2019
182 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Spirituality and the Writer

Praise for The Memoir and the Memoirist:
“Indispensable … arguably one of the two or three best references for those who teach and write nonfiction.”

Brevity

Related Titles

Cover of 'The Memoir and the Memoirist'

The Memoir and the Memoirist
Reading and Writing Personal Narrative
By Thomas Larson

The memoir is the most popular and expressive literary form of our time. Writers embrace the memoir and readers devour it, propelling many memoirs by relative unknowns to the top of the best-seller list. Writing programs challenge authors to disclose themselves in personal narrative. Memoir and personal narrative urge writers to face the intimacies of the self and ask what is true.

Creative Writing · Essays · Trade Nonfiction · Creative Nonfiction

Cover of 'Enchanted Ground'

Enchanted Ground
The Spirit Room of Jonathan Koons
By Sharon Hatfield

In a fascinating work of religious history and cultural inquiry, Hatfield brings to life the true story of a nineteenth-century farmer-spiritualist, Jonathan Koons, whom thousands traveled to Ohio to see. As heirs to the second Great Awakening, he and his followers were part of a larger, uniquely American moment that still marks the culture today.

American History, Midwest · History of Religion · Popular Culture · Spiritualism · Ohio · Ohio and Regional · Creative Nonfiction · American Studies · Appalachian Studies

Cover of 'Shake Terribly the Earth'

Shake Terribly the Earth
Stories from an Appalachian Family
By Sarah Beth Childers

In a thoughtful, humorous voice born of Appalachian storytelling, Childers brings to life family tales that affected the entire region to make sense of her personal journey and find the joy and clarity that often emerge after the earth shakes terribly beneath us.

Memoir · Creative Nonfiction · Appalachia · United States · North America · Americas · Literary Studies · Appalachian Studies · Ohio and Regional

Cover of 'Counting Down'

Counting Down
A Memoir of Foster Parenting and Beyond
By Deborah Gold

When Deborah Gold and her husband signed up to foster parent in their rural mountain community, they did not foresee that it would lead to a roller-coaster fifteen years of involvement with a traumatized yet resilient birth family. They fell in love with Michael (a toddler when he came to them), yet they had to reckon with the knowledge that he could leave their lives at any time. In Counting Down, Gold tells the story of forging a family within a confounding system.

Adoption and Fostering · Memoir · Creative Nonfiction · Appalachia · Trade Nonfiction