FREE eBook access.
While your print book ships!
Ninth EditionDonald McQuade; Robert Atwan©2018
Bookmark, search, and highlight our PDF-style eBooks.
Read and study old-school with our bound texts.
This package includes LaunchPad and Paperback.
This package includes LaunchPad and Paperback.
This package includes Paperback and Writer's Help.
Memorable. Provocative. Timely. Luminous. The Writer’s Presence brings together the best of the essay genre in a teachable, flexible compendium, because great reading inspires great academic writing.
Edited by Best American Essays series editor Robert Atwan and composition teacher and scholar Donald McQuade, The Writer’s Presence offers a rich pool of readings you’ll enjoy dipping into. The essays here address topics students care about, from race in America to transgender identity, with careful attention to voice, tone, and figurative language. Classic authors like Langston Hughes and George Orwell join rising stars like Roxane Gay and Eula Biss for a grand tour of masterful writing.
Divided into three parts—personal writing, expository writing, and argumentative writing—The Writer’s Presence also provides practical strategies for student writers, giving them tools to sharpen their own voices and imagination. An e-book option offers even greater flexibility and convenience.
Read online (or offline) with all the highlighting and notetaking tools you need to be successful in this course.Learn More
Get the eBook, do assignments, take quizzes, prepare for exams and more, to help you achieve success in class.Learn More
Search for help with your writing, quiz yourself to improve your grammar, and check out sample papers to help you learn more and improve your writing.Learn More
Table of Contents
Preface for Instructors
Alternate Tables of Contents
Selections Arranged by Theme
Selections Arranged by Common Rhetorical Modes and Patterns of Development
Introduction for Students: The Writer’s Presence
ON WRITING: Practical Advice from Successful Writers
Dealing with Procrastination
Envisioning an Audience
Working with Words
Part I. Personal Writing: Exploring Our Own Lives
What is Personal Writing?
Strategies for Establishing Your Personal Presence
Strategies for Turning Your Story into a Compelling Narrative
Strategies for Writing Literary Prose
Reading Personal Essays: A Checklist
Maya Angelou, "What’s Your Name, Girl?" (classic)
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (classic)
The Writer at Work: James Baldwin on Black English
Raymond Carver, My Father’s Life
Judith Ortiz Cofer, Silent Dancing
The Writer at Work: Judith Ortiz Cofer on Memory and Personal Essays
Frederick Douglass, Learning to Read and Write
Andre Dubus III, The Land of No: Love in a Class-riven America
The Writer at Work: Andre Dubus III on the Risks of Memoir Writing
Anne Fadiman, Under Water
The Writer at Work: Anne Fadiman on the Art of Editing
Henry Louis Gates Jr., In the Kitchen
Michihiko Hachiya, From Hiroshima Diary
*Silas Hansen, What Real Men Do
Edward Hoagland, On Stuttering
The Writer at Work: Edward Hoagland on What an Essay Is
Langston Hughes, Salvation (classic)
The Writer at Work: Langson Hughes on How to Be a Bad Writer (in Ten Easy Lessons)
*Margo Jefferson, from Negroland
Ha Jin, Arrival
Jamaica Kincaid, The Estrangement
Jamaica Kincaid, Girl (classic)
The Writer at Work: Jamaica Kincaid on "Girl"
Geeta Kothari, If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?
Jhumpa Lahiri, My Two Lives
*Laila Lalami, My Life as a Muslim in the West’s "Gray Zone"
*Yiyun Li, To Speak Is to Blunder
*Barry Lopez, Six Thousand Lessons
Nancy Mairs, On Being a Cripple
The Writer at Work: Nancy Mairs on Finding a Voice
Dinaw Mengestu, Home at Last
Manuel Muñoz, Leave Your Name at the Border
[Student Essay] Milos Kosic, It’s Not the name That Matters
George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant (classic)
The Writer at Work: George Orwell on the Four Reasons for Writing
*Claudia Rankine, excerpts from Citizen
Marjane Satrapi, My Speech at West Point
The Graphic Memoirist at Work: Marjane Satrapi on the Language of Words and Images
David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
Patti Smith, Sticky Fingers
Brent Staples, Just Walk on By (classic)
The Writer at Work: Another Version of Just Walk on By
*Alex Tizon, Small Man in a Big Country
*Maria Venegas, The Devil’s Spine
Alice Walker, Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self
Jerald Walker, Scattered Inconveniences
The Writer at Work: Jerald Walker on Telling a Good Story
[Student Essay] Lauren Carter, "Isn’t Watermelon Delicious?"
*Jillian Weise, Why I Own a Gun
E. B. White, Once More to the Lake (classic)
The Writer at Work: E.B. White on Essayist
Elie Wiesel, Eight Simple, Short Words
*Thomas Chatterton Williams, Black and Blue and Blond
Part II. Expository Writing: Shaping Information
What Is Expository Writing?
Strategies for Sharing Information
Strategies for Analyzing Information
Strategies for Interpreting Information
Reading Expository Essays: A Checklist
*Kwame Anthony Appiah, Race in the Modern World
Michael Berube, Analyze, Don’t Summarize
*Eula Biss, Sentimental Medicine
Charles Bowden, Our Wall
David Brooks, People Like Us
*Ta-Nehisi Coates, from Between the World and Me
The Writer at Work: Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Culture of Scholastic Achievement
Amy Cunningham, Why Women Smile
*Edwidge Danticat, Message to My Daughter
Joan Didion, The Santa Ana (classic)
The Writer at Work: Joan Didion on Why I Write
Brian Doyle, Dawn and Mary; His Last Game; A Note on Mascots
The Writer at Work: Brian Doyle on the Pleasures of Craft and Writing and Reading
Lars Eighner, On Dumpster Diving (classic)
The Writer at Work: Lars Eighner on the Challenges of Writing While Homeless
*Megan Garber, Barbie’s Hips Don’t Lie
Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted
*Amanda Hess, Multiple Choice
*Walter Isaacson, The Great Connectors
Pico Iyer, The Terminal Check
[Student Essay] Meher Ahmed, My Homeland Security Journey
*Hope Jahren, from Lab Girl
*Leslie Jamison, Mark My Words. Maybe.
*Jon Kerstetter, Triage
Stephen King, Everything You Need to Know about Writing Successfully--in Ten Minutes
*Naomi Klein, The Change Within
*[Student Essay] Maddy Perello, Climate Change: A Serious Threat
Alan Lightman, Our Place in the Universe
Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (classic)
The Writer at Work: Abraham Lincoln's Hay Draft of the Gettysburg Address
James McBride, Hip-Hop Planet
Azar Nafisi, From Reading Lolita in Tehran
Danielle Ofri, SAT
Katha Pollitt, Why Boys Don’t Play with Dolls
Eric Schlosser, Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good
Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me
The Writer at Work: Rebecca Solnit on Writing "Men Explain Things to Me
Virginia Woolf, The Death of the Moth (classic)
The Writer at Work: Virginia Woolf on the Practice of Freewriting
Part III. Argumentative Writing: Contending with Issues
What Is Argumentative Writing?
Strategies for Presenting the Issue
Strategies for Building a Claim
Strategies for Making a Case
Strategies for Coming to a Conclusion
Reading Argumentative Essays: A Checklist
*Amy Chua, Parents and Children
John Taylor Gatto, Against School
*Roxane Gay, The Careless Language of Sexual Violence
Christopher Hitchens, Believe Me, It’s Torture
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence (classic)
The Writer at Work: Another Draft of the Declaration of Independence
*Greg Lukianoff/Jonathan Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind
Laura Kipnis, Against Love
Bill McKibben, A Moral Atmosphere
*John McWhorter, Thick of Tongue
*Marisa Meltzer, The Last Feminist Taboo
Walter Benn Michaels, The Trouble with Diversity
Walter Mosley, Get Happy
Camille Paglia, The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery
[Student Essay] Sabrina Verchot, A Response to Camille Paglia’s "The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery"
Steven Pinker, Violence Vanquished
[Student Essay] Jacob Ewing, Steven Pinker and the Question of Violence
Michael J. Sandel, What Isn’t for Sale?
Barry Schwartz, The Tyranny of Choice
Peter Singer, The Singer Solution to World Poverty
Lauren Slater, The Trouble with Self-Esteem
The Writer at Work: Lauren Slater on Writing Groups
Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal (classic)
*Simon Tam, Trademark Offense
*Sherry Turkle, The Empathy Gap
David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster
The Writer at Work: Another Version of "Consider the Lobster"
John Edgar Wideman, Fatheralong
*Wendy Willis, Boxed In
Howard Zinn, Stories Hollywood Never Tells