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Summary

Bird by Bird is a modern classic - a funny and practical guide to being a writer by the New York Times best-selling author Anne Lamott.

Bird by Bird is the bible of writing guides - a wry, honest, down-to-earth book that has never stopped selling since it was first published in the United States in the 1990s. Best-selling novelist and memoirist Anne Lamott distils what she's learned over years of trial and error. Beautifully written, wise and immensely helpful, this is the book for all serious writers and writers-to-be.

For a quarter century, more than a million people - scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities - have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. Advice that begins with the simple words of wisdom passed down from Anne’s father - also a writer - in the iconic passage that gives the book its title: 

'Thirty years ago, my older brother, who was 10 years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'

©1994 Anne Lamott (P)2019 Penguin Random House LLC

Critic reviews

"A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer's world and its treacherous swamps." (Los Angeles Times)

"[A] classic of the genre.... The lessons she shares with her students...are refreshing." (Guardian)

"Deftly and honestly explores the mental challenges of being a writer, and Lamott's advice is, simply put, invaluable." (Bustle)

What listeners say about Bird by Bird

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Life changing book & wonderful reader.

I absolutely love this book and regularly read it to absorb more tips and skills to develop in my writing each time.
However this oral performance gives and opens up so much more. I am going to play this audio book often. It has chipped away another big chunk of my negative critic in my head and opened me up to more writing awareness. Please do listen to the oral version of this book, the wonderful performance of Susan Barret, it's a marvellous experience. Thank you so much Anne Lamott.

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if you are a writer then definitely get this

Incredible wisdom about writing, so glad I bought this, brilliant from beginning to end....I had never heard of Anne Lamott before, but now she's one of my favourite writers, she's just so honest.

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A must for all inspiring writers

Bird by bird not only teaches you about writing, it is a perfect example of showing rather than telling how to write the perfect how to book Full of humour, personal stories of triumph and disaster and of never giving up.

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Totally fantastic

Dark, witty and original. This was a thoroughly enjoyable listen from start to finish. I'll probably listen to it again before long.

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A must read for any writer.

This was a wonderful and well written book, that was both a pleasure to read and filled with a great number of insights.

if you are currently or are wanting to be a writer, this is a must read!

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An enlightening , funny listen. Brilliantly performed

I’ve had this book on my to read list for a long time but I was thrilled to see it as an audio book recently. The performance truly brings it to life. It is written in a way that makes it work better in audio.

Susan Bennett does an excellent job of narrating.

The book itself very much lives up to its sub-title “Some advice on writing and life” There is much good general advice in here for living an “authentic life”

This is a book about writing from the heart and I would put it on a parr with Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. (Which I also highly recommend in audiobook narrated by the author in that instance).

The advice in this book is not about the minutiae of plot structure, scene setting and how to describe a character - though those subjects are discussed with much good advice - rather it is about how to write in a way to find truth and for writing to be its own reward.

It is incredibly funny and often very touching.