Amitava Kumar, Collector of Writerly Advice Distilled Into One Line

August 10, 2020

At The New York Times, Amitava Kumar recounts how he began asking writers at literary festivals to sign copies of their books and add a line of valuable advice. “I began to see it not as self-help but, instead, as a glimpse into that particular writer’s mind,” he says. He’s since collected advice from Lydia Davis (“Read the masters and, at least occasionally, read them closely!”), Zadie Smith (“Don’t confuse honors with achievement.”), Jamaica Kincaid (“Show, tell, is of no use—only writing.”), and more.

Image credit: kristiand

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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