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18 Holiday Gifts for Writers

Yes! It’s that time of year. Time for the Writerland 2011 Gifts for Writers Buying Guide! In addition to the usual case of wine, Moleskine notebook, nice pen, and day-at-the-spa gifts that all writers love, here are 17 other great ideas:

1. Come On All You Ghosts by Matthew Zapruder
I work with Matthew, and he is one damn talented poet whose book was chosen as one of the New York Times 100 notable books of 2011. Matthew’s poetry rocks. And he’s a ridiculously nice guy. And every writer needs more poetry in his/her life. It’s inspirational, it’s thought-provoking, it takes us out of the daily grind of fiction and memoir writing (not to mention day jobs and housework.) Buy this book!

2. A Grotto class
The Grotto doesn’t offer gift certificates YET, but you can buy someone a Grotto class. This winter we will be offering a book proposal writing workshop with a real live agent as well as a performance workshop in addition to the usual novel, memoir, and nonfiction workshops, the social media class that I teach, blogging for journalists, and many more. (I want to take the performance workshop, in case you want to buy me a gift.)

3. A subscription to Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, or a literary journal like Zyzzyva or Tin House.
Poets & Writers and Writer’s Digest are both great publications full of author interviews, advice for budding writers, MFA program listings, writing contests, etc. Zyzzyva and Tin House are fabulous literary journals and a great way to support your favorite writers as well as give them gifts!

4. Tin House Writer’s Series
For $49.95 you can get the complete Tin House Writer’s Series, including Plotto, The Writer’s Notbook, The Story About The Story, and The World Within. It’s an MFA in a box! (Well, almost.)

5. Rumpus mugs
If your writer doesn’t have a “Writer Like a Motherfucker” mug, he needs one! Or if your writer is too prude for a motherfucker mug, you can buy him one of these other awesome Rumpus mugs.

6. Little Thinker Literary Plush Dolls
Ever wanted to sit down for tea with Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, and Shakespeare all at once? Now you can with these literary plush dolls and finger puppets. UPDATE: Also check out these fabulous handmade literary dolls on Etsy.

7. Book Bags and Kindle and iPad cases
These are no ordinary book bags. These are hand bags made from recycled hardcover books, and they are gorgeous (I want one!). You can even custom order the book cover of your choice. Also available: iPad and Kindle cases!

8. Book Journals
Along the same line, book journals made from recycled hardcover books. Love these, too!

9. Boxed Set of Books
If you’re rich enough to buy your writer a $2000 gift, you may be interested in this boxed set of books at Anthopologie.

10. Angry Writer T-Shirts
I listed these T-shirts last year, but they’re still awesome. I like “Beware the Plot Bunny” – reminds me of Monte Python’s Holy Grail. “It’s just a harmless little bunny isn’t it?”

11. Rory’s Story Cubes
Now available as an iPhone app! This game looks super fun. I want to play it.

12. Literati
This game looks super difficult. I’m intimidated to play it.

13. A subscription to the New Yorker
If you have a love/hate relationship with your writer, (s)he will soon love/hate you, too. (S)he will love you for the fantabulous stories and articles in the New Yorker, and (s)he will hate you for the anxiety the weekly delivery causes as issues stack up unread while (s)he tries to finish his/her novel/memoir/short story collection. It’s a win/lose situation.

14. An Amazon or Apple iTunes gift card
If your writer reads e-books on a Kindle or an iPad, this is one of the best gifts you can give her.

15. Kindle, Kindle Touch, or Kindle Fire
At $79, everyone should own a Kindle! Even if you already have an iPad! That way you can read your Kindle e-books both at night and in bright sunlight.

16. Scrivener 2.2
If your writer has Scrivener already, upgrade her to Scrivener 2.2! Scrivener is an indispensable software application for writers working on book-length projects.

17. Other awesome books
Steve Jobs, IQ84, and 11/22/63 are my top pics for this holiday season. Running a close second: The Marriage Plot for Jeffrey Eugenides. All books that you should buy me the writer in your life this holiday season.

18. Writes of Passage This last one comes to us courtesy of Karen Elliott, who commented below. Huge board game fan that I am, I had to include it.

What about you? What are your favorite gift ideas for writers? What books do you want someone to buy you?

36 comments to 18 Holiday Gifts for Writers

  • Kristan

    Excellent list! #14 is my fave at this point — because I already have #15-17 — although I know that's not very fun for the gift-givers, lol.

    I also love Crocs and yoga pants, but I think that's a me thing, not necessarily a writer thing. 😛

    • Meghan Ward

      Kristan, I keep begging my sister to make me more fleece pajama pants – that's my writing uniform of choice. And Ugg slippers. I need new Uggs!

  • karenselliott

    Another game (in a box) available is Writes of Passage which has decks of cards with prompts for characters, places, situations, etc. I bought it just for fun, and I've had a few ideas looking through the cards. Every time I see a white rabbit, I think Monty Python, too!

  • I love Come on All You Ghosts—I second the recommendation!

  • I love this list and completely agree with you on the subscription to The New Yorker. LOL!

  • Like those T-shirts. Favorite gift for writers: grant money.

    • Meghan Ward

      Yes! All money is highly welcomed! Although did you see this – writers make more than the median income of the average US worker:

  • Fabulous list! I must have the finger puppets. And the board game! I have a nephew in college who hangs with a group of writers who would LOVE this.

    And this has me laughing and quietly weeping "(s)he will hate you for the anxiety the weekly delivery causes as issues stack up unread" My New Yorker stack is now close to three feet high. Publish 5 books in a year and the New Yorker loses. I now stick them in my car, fold them into my purse (the skinny ones that come in low-retail ad weeks) and leave them in strategic places like the bathroom, so any time I have a spare second, I can get my New Yorker fix.

    I used to get Tin House, but decided I'd better stick with one magazine I don't have time to read.

    Love this post. Will RT!

    • Meghan Ward

      Anne – I canceled Tin House, too, and all the literary journals I used to read. Sad 🙁 But if I were writing short fiction, I would resubscribe. Thanks for the RT!

  • BTW, Thank you sooooo much for your comment on my blogpost on Amazon reviews. I've had such flak for that. Turns out there's a well-organized Amazon review Taliban who are enraged by my heresy. There's a whole "art for art's sake" subculture who think authors shouldn't read their reviews or care about profits–and don't know that Amazon review standards have been inflated during the Kindle revolution. It's been a fascinating, if harrowing week.

    • Meghan Ward

      Controversy is great for blog traffic! 🙂 I didn't have time to read all the comments, but that's great that you got so many people talking – even if they were angry. I loved your post. I thought it was incredibly informative. I didn't know half that stuff about Amazon reviews. And I will catch up on this week's post tomorrow!

  • I love the list and Karen's input! It was 17 when I received you post and my inbox. By the time I made it over … up to 18. Love it (and the comment about "grant money). I'm hoping for lots of time. And, if I can figure out how to download and read documents on the Kindle Fire … I think I'll be good to go.

    • Meghan Ward

      Stacy – I promise there will be no 19, although it's difficult not to add great ideas to the list. My husband now wants a Kindle Fire (I have an iPad and love it). I want to hear how you like it!

  • Eunice

    This is a great list! I have 1Q84 and am saving to read it since Murakami's books come out so infrequently. What's so great about Scrivener? Do you use the software?

    • Meghan Ward

      Eunice – I have such a long list of books I want to read. I haven't bought IQ84 yet, but I really want to read it. I should get off the Internet and read!

  • kimkircher

    What if I'm the writer and I want others to buy me these gifts. I suppose there's always the power of suggestion. And now there's a link. Thanks!

  • […] 18 Holiday Gifts for Writers – “Yes! It’s that time of year. Time for the Writerland 2011 Gifts for Writers Buying Guide! […]

  • This is an awesome list. I especially love the literary push dolls. They're adorable. Thanks!

  • […] Well folks, there you have it. Numbers eight and nine were gifts ideas I learned about from reading the blog Writerland. Check out Meghan Ward’s post for more gift ideas for writers. […]

  • Derek Pearcy

    This is a great list. I'd also add that one of the best gifts you can give a writer is time. If you have a friend or a family member whose writing you'd like to support, do something to specifically help them carve out more time to write. Regardless what you do, the writer you love will appreciate any support.

    • meghancward

      That's a great suggestion. Babysitting would be great, too! And a friend of mine suggested a "good" bottle of wine since writers get tired of Trader Joe's and Costco wine 🙂

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    stupid and boring

  • It figures that most of what's on that list has something to do with writing or literature. Then again, that's what they consider fun so it only makes sense.

  • […] 18 Holiday Gifts From Meghan Ward […]

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  • I listed these T-shirts last year, but they’re still awesome. I like “Beware the Plot Bunny” – reminds me of Monte Python’s Holy Grail. “It’s just a harmless little bunny isn’t it?”