Part memoir, part writing handbook, The Writer Laid Bare is an essential compendium for every writer – aspiring, emerging or established – wishing to hone their craft and a fascinating guide to the world of literature for the voracious and curious reader. Written by renowned author and writing coach, Lee Kofman, The Writer Laid Bare is an authentic distillation of the challenges and rewards of writing, offering wisdom, inspiration and practical advice through the lens of the author’s own storied writing career.
Drawing on her journeys as both a mother, and as a bilingual author in two languages that are not her native tongue, the Russian-born, Israeli-Australian author reveals how committing to a truthful writing practice helped her conquer debilitating writer’s block and develop her own authentic voice.
Inspired by her popular writing courses and informed by her research into the practices of writing greats from Chekov to Didion to Garner, Lee offers practical advice on drafts, edits and how to achieve a life/writing balance. She examines various barriers writers face, both internal (such as fear of exposure) and external (such as peer pressure). Importantly, she refuses to prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach to the art of writing, instead encouraging radical self-discovery, emotional honesty and a honing of one’s process to find magic in the written word and live more sustainable creative (and personal) lives.
It was also included in The Best Reads of 2022 in Sydney Morning Herald/The Age.
You can watch me read the very first pages of The Writer Laid Bare here.
What reviewers say:
If you’re looking for advice on writing – or for a gift for an aspiring writer, Lee’s book would be an excellent choice. As an established writer, I still found plenty of food for thought, so it’s not just for newbies.Graeme Simsion
Lee Kofman’s The Writer Laid Bare is an inspiring exploration of the joyful – and painful – art of writing.Christian White
The Writer Laid Bare might be this generation’s most honest, intelligent, and engaging treatment of writing as an artform.Arts Hub
fascinating reading… this book teaches by example, applying its wisdom to the exquisite way in which Kofman weaves her own tale with remarkable openness and humility… Like [Julia] Cameron, Lee Kofman approaches the creative process as a spiritual endeavour that demands introspection and self-awareness. As such, The Writer Laid Bare is a worthy successor and a welcome addition to any writer’s bookcase.Australian Book Review
Kofman’s deeply thoughtful exploration of the craft… rings with passionate authenticity… her pivotal point, responding to what is urgent in you because it keeps a writer emotionally honest, is right on the money.The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age, Pick of The Week
Eminently absorbing, encouraging and inspiring…The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age, Jane Sullivan
The Writer Laid Bare is a luscious and intricately rendered compendium for writers—both new and established… Kofman’s charismatic wisdom shines through… It’s a guide for writing, but also a manifesto for a creative life.Kill Your Darlings
The Writer Laid Bare is a rich and delicious distillation of Lee Kofman’s experience, wisdom and reading. Part writing memoir and part writing manual, this beautiful hybrid is simultaneously accessi- ble and erudite, and Kofman’s voice is refreshing in its honesty and vulnerability. I know it is a book I will be thrusting into the hands of other writers, as well as a book I will keep returning to – not just for the perfectly curated advice from some of the world’s best writers but for Lee’s personal writing journey and her reassurance that in our pursuit of emotionally honest writing, we are not alone.Melanie Cheng
Kofman uses her own experiences, which, as you’d expect, she recounts with honesty and open humility and her experiences as a teacher, along with quotations and guidance from a very wide-range of writing masters to address pretty much any problem a writer might be wrestling with… as enjoyable to read as a novel or one of Kofman’s nonfiction books.Compulsive Reader
Gosh, she’s good! She’s so good at articulating the aspects of craft. She also has this… encyclopedic knowledge of writers… She’s also good at putting it all out on the page… I can’t recommend it enough. It’s so great.The First Time podcast, Kate Mildenhall
I’m reading it slowly, because I want to spend more time with it… I highly recommend The Writer Laid Bare.James and Ashley Stay at Home podcast, ep.60, Ashley Kalagian-Blunt
I relished the way Kofman identifies a general challenge facing writers and then teases out the specifics of how she and other writers over the centuries have dealt with them.A Bigger Brighter World
The Writer Laid Bare is the creative friend that every writer needs. The writing process is demystified with insight and self-awareness, its difficulties and joys delineated, its braided paths outlined with grace and open-hearted generosity. It is an elegant book to read, practical, inspiring and encouraging all at once. For readers, it is a book to enjoy for its revelations of the writing life, for writers it is a book to keep on your desk as you write and to pick up and read whenever you stop writing. I will be recommending The Writer Laid Bare to all my writing students.Patti Miller
Lee Kofman is, arguably, one of the most interesting writers in the current Australian literary scene.Kathryn’s Inbox blog
This is the real achievement of A Writer Laid Bare: in permitting the reader ample space for introspection, Kofman’s narrator is as good a listener as she is a writer. And like any good listener, her role is not to leap to the rescue with answers or advice. What her attentive presence does is more subtle, and more precious than that. It makes the reader feel consoled, encouraged, unburdened, heard. And thus, in my lonely fear, Kofman’s words provide more solace than any ‘how-to’ guide ever could.Sydney Review of Books
a firmly non-prescriptive balm for worried or weary writers… striking a balance between practicality and a near-spiritual reverence for the written word.Westerly Magazine
I relished the way Kofman identifies a general challenge facing writers and then teases out the specifics of how she and other writers over the centuries have dealt with them.The South Sydney Herald
Big, generous, passionate – I wolfed it down like I was eating something hearty and full-flavoured (moussaka, a beef casserole with red wine and garlic)… It almost made me cry. There’s a relief in knowing I’m not alone in my struggle.The Reluctant Dragon, Susan Green’s blog
Kofman deep dives into some of the most difficult-to-pin down aspects of a writer’s life… as well as the bare, practical truths of the discipline of writing… I plan to spend some time with it. It’s that kind of book.
Lee is extremely well read and her insight into the craft and process of writing is inspiring and gives all of us nervous writers out there hope.Thirty Books
Absolutely phenomenal… Reading a writing manual by her [Kofman] is a dream come true… I’m blown away by it.James and Ashley Stay at Home podcast, ep.63, James McKenzie Watson
The author shares and exposes her own experiences with great generosity, which allows a level of authenticity seldom seen in books on the topic of writing… The Writer Laid Bare is a wonderful contribution to writers and the writing sector in Australia and beyond.Ballarat Writers
The Writer Laid Bare takes us on an intimate journey into the magical, and often challenging, terrain an author inhabits. Kofman courageously shares with the reader her own probing writerly journey of self-discovery.Leah Kaminsky
a fabulous insight into a writer’s processWrites4Women podcast
I would recommend this book to all writers, anyone planning to take on the writing journey and all those with interest in the world of literature.Out To Lunch blog
I found this book so reassuring as a writer… It helps you to know you are not alone in the challenges of writing.Cassie Hamer