Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian

By Bret Lott

... Show All

Format: Hardcover w/ Jacket

Availability: Out of Print

Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian

By Bret Lott

... Show All

All serious writers know that each word they write reveals something significant about their beliefs, something about their reason for creating, something about the one for whom they write. After all, writing lays bare the soul.

Yet the work of a Christian artist is often pressured to fit into a popular mold, oftentimes forgoing quality for the sake of convenience or acceptance, or even simply because of a lack of the bravery necessary to look the world square in the eye, and to do so with the unflinching eye of Christ.

In this series of intimate reflections on life and writing, critically acclaimed and best-selling novelist Bret Lott calls authors to pursue excellence in their craft through five fascinating essays and an extended memoir that explore everything from the importance of literary fiction to the pain of personal loss. 

Learn here what it means to be a writer who navigates the tension inherent to being a Christian in the public square—and to being an artist made in the image of God.


Bret Lott

Bret Lott (MFA, University of Massachusetts) is the New York Times best-selling author of more than a dozen books including Jewel, an Oprah Book Club selection. From 1986 to 2004 he was writer-in-residence and professor of English at the College of Charleston, leaving to take the position of editor and director of the journal The Southern Review at Louisiana State University. In 2007, he returned to the College of Charleston, where he currently teaches. He serves as nonfiction editor of Crazyhorse, and is a member of the National Council on the Arts.

Product Details

Category: Arts & Literature
Format: Hardcover w/ Jacket
Page Count: 192
Size: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Weight: 12.6 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-3783-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-3783-7
ISBN-UPC: 9781433537837
Case Quantity: 44
Published: June 30, 2013

Table of Contents

Part 1: Letters
1.  Why Have We Given Up the Ghost?: Notes on Reclaiming Literary Fiction
2.  The Artist and the City, or, Some Random Thoughts on Why We Are Here
3.  On Precision
4.  Writing with So Great a Cloud of Witness
5.  Humble Flannery
Part 2: Life
6.  At Some Point in the Future, What Has Not Happened Will Be in the Past



Letters and Life is nothing less than an invaluable gift to the body of Christ. Let no serious believer who aspires to serious writing neglect to read it and to be encouraged, instructed, and blessed by it. A wise, wonderful, and desperately needed primer on what it means to be a genuine Christian writer and artist.”
Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author, Miracles and Bonhoeffer

“Like all great storytellers, Bret Lott is a bridge builder: his characters cross into our lives and help us know ourselves more truly. In this lively collection of essays, Lott is determined to bridge another gap—the sometimes uneasy tension between the world of literary fiction and the broader community of faith. Along the way, he demonstrates that reading literature, far from being an elitist indulgence, is at once deeply pleasurable and a transformative spiritual experience.”
Gregory Wolfe, Founding Editor, Image; author, Beauty Will Save the World

“Bret Lott has dared to write an impossible book—a serious and candid set of meditations on what it means to be a Christian writer living in a secular society that neither respects nor even understands his faith. I can hardly imagine a more difficult topic or a more necessary one. Letters and Life has the courage to explore a question at the heart of contemporary culture: How do we reconcile the spirit and the imagination?”
Dana Gioia, poet; Former Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

“Bret Lott is one of America’s finest writers and editors; this book reveals him to be one of our greatest mentors to writers of faith, as well. Letters and Life brims with wisdom and advice to all who bear the call toward an authentic journey of a writer. It is a gift for all readers who desire to know more about the creative process and to infuse their creativity into their lives.”
Makoto Fujimura, artist; author, Silence and Beauty and Art and Faith: A Theology of Making