If you’re looking for a gift for the writer in your life or you’re a writer and are shopping for yourself (writing is hard work, you deserve presents!), our list of the very best gifts for writers and poets will help. We’ve combed the web for gifts that will encourage, inspire and delight newbies and seasoned pros alike. Unless otherwise noted, all the options on our list offer international shipping.
- A writing course, private coaching session or manuscript review – for someone with an interest in writing, this is an amazing gift. We’ve seen writers tear up when talking about how their partner or friend encouraged them to follow their writing dreams by gifting them a course. With our gift vouchers, it’s easy: you choose the amount, and the recipient can choose how and when to spend it.
- A subscription to a literary magazine – a recurring reminder that you care. Great mainstream choices are The New Yorker, Granta, Paris Review and Tin House. Most of these subscriptions come with archive access, which is a fantastic resource for inspiration-hungry writers. Or you could go for something a little less obvious like Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern or Poetry. And for writers in the USA or Canada, the Journal of the Month service is an unbeatable option—you decide how many and how often, and they’ll send a sampler of highly regarded litmags.
- Posters and art prints on writers and writing – Incidental Comics carries the inspiring and hilarious illustrations of Grant Snider (we’re huge fans), including favourites such as Haruki Murakami Bingo, the Story Coaster and Understanding Poetry. And over at Brain Pickings, you can find links to illustrated quotations from favourite authors, for example Susan Sontag on Art and Albert Camus on Happiness & Love; Denise Levertov poems as visual haikus; and unique data visualisations such as ‘Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits’ and the even more off-the-wall (pun intended) ‘Writers in Prison, Not for Their Books’ (no doubt the perfect gift for someone).
- Notebooks and journals – Pretty much every writer can use a pocket-sized journal for jotting down notes and ideas. And writers who prefer long-hand over a laptop will appreciate a large, lined notebook for their compositions. At the Journal Shop they have a dizzying array of options: Japanese paper, recycled paper, fountain-pen friendly, hard-bound, soft-bound, spiral, refillable. They take journals very, very seriously. If you prefer a more comic approach, then Cafe Press may have what you’re looking for: the notebooks are all the same model with different covers, such as ‘Writers have great climaxes’ and ‘The past the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.’
- Literature-themed T-shirts, mugs and suchlike – What self-respecting book nerd wouldn’t want a Great Gatsby T-shirt, a Kurt Vonnegut Breakfast of Champions mug, or an Edgar Allen Poe coaster set—just to name a few of the fun literary offerings at Out of Print. Personally we loved the Banned Books and Invisible Man heat reactive mugs. And bonus: a portion of each purchase goes to fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need. UK-based Literary Emporium also has a fantastic selection. You can find everything from jewellery to journals. Our top pick: the Virginia Woolf gift set. Includes a T-shirt, an attractive hardback copy of A Room of One’s Own and an enamel pin.
- Books (of course) – It can be a bit perilous buying books for writers—most read a lot and have strong opinions. Make it personal by going for a book that meant something to you. Just be sure to get a gift receipt in case they’ve already read it. Inspiring books on writing and creativity can also make a good gift. Some recommendations: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott and The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux. Or consider an anthology—writers end up turning to them again and again. We like the international short story compilations The Art of the Story and The Art of the Tale (ed. Daniel Halpern) and for poets, Essential Pleasures (ed. Robert Pinsky), a great selection of poems in an attractive hardcover and it comes with a CD. If you want to make sure you cover all the thematic bases, there’s always The Paris Review Book: of Heartbreak, Madness, Sex, Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner, Baseball, Travels, … and Everything Else in the World Since 1953 :). Still looking? You can find more book recommendations here.