Reviews of Naming the World

“Naming the World is a delicious book. Imagine yourself at a cocktail party crammed with literary lions. You have the chance to spend a few moments with each of them. Wit and wisdom abound.”

— Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way

“Here’s a book full of bright doorways into our writing, set out with specificity and reason. Not only is Naming the World a rich compendium of provocative prompts, but as a whole it serves as a timely conversation of the larger aesthetic of well-made fiction, a roomful of caring experts. Mr. Johnston, by assembling these worthy exercises has done us all a valuable favor.”

— Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies

“A highly useful and perceptive book. With charm and intelligence it touches on nearly every teachable aspect of the devilishly difficult art of writing fiction.”

— Ethan Canin, author of The Palace Thief and America, America

“These entertaining and useful exercises, intelligently organized, are a boon for both beginning and experienced writers.”

— Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever, winner of the National Book Award

“I always thought there were no secrets to writing well, that only hard work, rare talent and plenty of luck made a writer good. Naming the World proved me wrong– it opens the doors to some of the best writing classes in the country, the best teachers, and the minds of many of the best writers themselves. A fantastic resource for any writer (or writing teacher) looking for inspiration or guidance or support.”

— Heidi Pitlor, author of The Birthdays, and Series Editor of Best American Short Stories

“Forget about getting an MFA! Bret Anthony Johnston has put together the equivalent of a master class in writing by some of the best writer/teachers around. Here are the nuts and here are the bolts for any writer struggling with the essentials of his craft.”

— Betsy Lerner, author of The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers

“At last the book about writing I have been needing for years and that I will now keep on my desk at all times. Witty, warm, intuitive, inspiring, and hopeful, the writers gathered here feel like the best possible company as we all attempt to do this impossible, vital thing called writing.”

— Stacey D’Erasmo, author of A Seahorse Year