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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Creative Writing

How to Get Books During a Pandemic

How to Request Materials

Sign into EWU Library Catalog, and in the full record for the item, click Request EWU Item (1-2 days) or for consortium items Place Summit request (4-8 days).

Live in Spokane County?

Choose the Pickup location, either Cheney for the JFK Library or Spokane for the Spokane Academic Library. 

When the item(s) is ready to pick up, you will receive an email from the library, with directions on scheduling an appointment to pick the item(s) up. 

Live Outside of Spokane County?

We will mail requested materials, up to 4 items per person per quarter.

Items will be mailed via USPS Media Mail, with return postage.

For an EWU-held item, choose Home Address in the Pickup Location. See screenshot below.

screenshot of the ewu library catalog to request a book be mailed

 

For Summit materials, leave the Pickup/Delivery Location as EWU-Cheney, and indicate that you need the item mailed in the Comments box. See screenshot below.

screenshot to request form to have summit item mailed

Find Books About Writing Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction

Most of the book collection is in Cheney, but there are some in the Spokane Academic Library.

  • Books on authorship (the usual subject heading) very generally can be found mainly in the JFK Library Upper Level PN101 to PN239
  • For writing poetry, search for poetry AND authorship, or browse PN1042-1059.
  • For writing fiction (short stories and novels), search fiction AND authorship, or browse PN3355-3383.
  • For writing creative nonfiction, search ("creative nonfiction" OR reportage OR essay) AND authorship. Some are in PN145.

Finding Specific Types of Creative Writing

The creative writing collection is really too big to browse. Books by one author are almost always shelved in the PRs (British) or PSs (American) under a specific call number for the author. (Works by the author and the literary criticism of the author are next to one another on the shelf.)

The following call number ranges will only work for anthologies. They are located on the Upper Level of the JFK Library.

Poetry = PN6099-PN6110

Drama = PN6110.5-PN6120

Short Stories = PN6014-6071 (if mixture of nationalities)

Poetry

For books of poems, use the keyword poetry in your search. 

poetry "[author's name/nationality/motif]"

This will limit it somewhat, but you will still have to look at individual titles of books to determine if it is an actual collection of the author's poems, or a critique of the poet. Look for the words collected, selected, or complete in the title.

Short Stories

The records for collections of short stories almost always have "short stories" in the subject field, so use that as an exact phrase, plus the author or theme.

"short stories" canadian

Novels

If you have a particular author in mind, definitely search by author.

  • For non-genre novels, use the keyword fiction and any other keywords, and/or limit by date. Just "fiction" in the subject field brings up over 40,000 results.
  • For genre fiction, usually the standard terminology works well as a keyword.
    • Use "science fiction" for science fiction
    • Use fantasy for fantasy -- the most common subject headings for fantasy are "fantasy fiction" or "fantasy literature," so fantasy will pick up both.
    • Use horror for horror -- most common subject headings are "horror tales" or "horror fiction" or "horror stories," so horror will pick them all up.
    • For mysteries, use the exact phrase "detective and mystery stories" -- this is the most common subject heading, but others may be used as well ("mystery fiction", "women detectives", etc.)
    • For the fiction aimed at teenagers, what librarians call YA for Young Adult, use the keyword fiction and any other keywords, and under Physical Location, limit to the Lower Level Curriculum Center -- you'll need to hover over the choices to see the all the text. Then look closely at the call numbers. All the YA novels have a call number that looks like YA authorlastname authorfirstname startoftitle.

Creative Nonfiction

There aren't any unique subject headings or limiters to show you only creative nonfiction. Whether something is "creative nonfiction" or just nonfiction is in the eye of the beholder.

Personal Essays

If you don't have a particular author in mind, try essays, limiting to the subject field.

Travel Writing

If you are looking for examples, "travel writing" will bring up titles that have been tagged that as a genre subject heading (around 500 in Summit, which is hardly all of them!) as well ask books about travel writing (literary criticism or how to).

If you are looking for books on travel writing for a particular country, try [country] "description and travel" as the latter is the usual subject heading.

Nature or Environmental Writing

The search "nature writing" will bring up some examples, mainly anthologies.

For a broader search, try (environment* OR ecology OR nature) essays.

But many times relevant titles are tagged by the subject matter itself, such as deserts, trees, etc.

Autobiographies/Memoirs

Try (autobiography OR memoir) in your search. Though rather than picking up a useful subject heading, many times the word autobiography or memoir is used in the title of the book. (The subject heading would be the person's name.)

Plays

The most common term in the subject headings is drama, rather than plays.

Screenplays

"Motion picture plays" and "screenplays" are the most common subject headings, and occasionally it will have the word "screenplay" in the title. To cover all bases, try keyword searching (screenplay* OR "motion picture plays"). The * will pick up the singular and plural form, screenplay and screenplays.

Award-Winning Creative Nonfiction

Want to browse award-winning collections of poetry or awards given particular poets? Here is a selection of some of the most prestigious literary awards. I linked to whichever list was easier to browse, the one from the official site, or another such as Wikipedia.

General Nonfiction

  • National Book Award for Nonfiction -- One award to a U.S. citizen, by the National Book Foundation; one of the top awards for books. On the official website, you can see the longlist, finalists, and winners back to 2010, as well as who the judges were, if you click on the years on the left side.
  • National Book Critics Circle Awards -- Critics choices for the best general nonfiction, autobiography, and biography of the year, in English published in the US; one of the top awards. Past winners and finalists.
  • Pulitzer Prize for History, Biography, and General Nonfiction -- Awarded to the best book in English by a US citizen (except for the history category, where the book has to be about US history, but the author doesn't have to be an American). The judges are mainly academics, journalism professors, editors, and journalists and the top of their field.
  • Thurber Prize for American Humor -- Award given to one book (fiction or nonfiction) by the Thurber House. Chosen by a three-judge panel of humor writers.

Personal Essays & Memoirs

Nature or Environmental Writing

  • Best American Science & Nature Writing via the EWU Library Catalog -- Part of the "Best American" series from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the series editors select around 100 essays published that year, then each year a notable guest editor chooses which ones to include. Sam Kean is editing the 2018 edition.
  • PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award -- Award given "for a work that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience." Part of the PEN American Literary Awards.
  • Science in Society Journalism Awards -- Annual awards for science writing in a book, longform, and science reporting. Awarded by the National Association of Science Writers.

Sports Writing

  • Best American Sports Writing via the EWU Library Catalog or via WorldCat (for editions Summit doesn't have a copy)-- Part of the "Best American" series from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the series editors select around 100 essays published that year, then each year a notable guest editor chooses which ones to include. Jeff Pearlman is editing the 2018 edition.
  • PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing -- Award given for a "nonfiction book about sports. Eligible titles should be of a biographical, investigative, historical, or analytical nature and of the strongest literary character." Part of the PEN American Literary Awards.

Travel Writing

  • Best American Travel Writing via the EWU Library Catalog -- Part of the "Best American" series from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the series editors select around 100 essays published that year, then each year a notable guest editor chooses which ones to include. Cheryl Strayed is editing the 2018 edition.
  • Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards -- Gives 10 awards annually since 2015 for various categories, including the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. (Stanfords is a large travel bookstore in London.) From 2006-2014, the Authors Club gave the Dolman Travel Book of the Year award. In short, the books awarded or shortlisted are mainly British.

Award-Winning Fiction

Want to browse award-winning titles? While there are hundreds of awards given, here is a selection of some of the most prestigious literary awards. I linked to whichever list was easier to browse, the one from the official site, or another such as Wikipedia.

Novels & Short Stories

  • Costa Book Awards (formerly Whitbread Book Awards) - for authors in the UK or Ireland, a best novel and a best first novel, based on literary merit and enjoyable reading, are selected each year. Judges are a mixture of authors, actors, celebrities. Shortlisted titles from 1995-2016.
  • Lambda Literary Awards -- over 20 categories for LGBTQ literature, including lesbian fiction, gay fiction, bisexual fiction, transgender fiction
  • Man Booker Prize (can choose a year to see the longlist, the shortlist and winner) -- one of the highest literary awards for best novel in English published in the UK. Prior to 2014, it was limited to authors in Great Britain and the Commonwealth (aka no Americans). The Man Booker International Prize was first awarded in 2016 for best book translated into English and published in the UK. Similar to the Costa Book Awards, judges are a selected panel from all walks of public life.
  • National Book Award for Fiction -- One award to a U.S. citizen, by the National Book Foundation; one of the top awards for American literature.  On the official website, you can see the longlist, finalists, and winners back to 2010, as well as who the judges were, if you click on the years on the left side.
  • National Book Critics Circle Award -- Critics choice of the best fiction of the year, in English published in the US; one of the top awards. Past winners and finalists.
  • PEN/Faulkner Award - Best work of fiction by an American citizen.
  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction - Awarded to the best book of fiction in English by a US citizen. The judges are mainly academics, journalism professors, editors, and journalists and the top of their field.
  • Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award - Awarded by the American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.
  • Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) - Awarded to the best full-length fiction written by a woman. First award was in 1996, in reaction to the lack of women in the Booker Prize shortlists. Judges are British women from various walks of public life, well-known in their field. 

Regional Fiction

  • Pacific Northwest Book Awards -- Recognizes the best writing (fiction and nonfiction) by authors residing in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia). Awarded by a committee of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association.
  • Spur Awards/Western Writers of America -- Awards for several categories of fiction -- traditional westerns, contemporary fiction, short stories, etc.
  • Washington State Book Awards - Includes one award for fiction by a Washington State author, awarded by the Washington Center for the Book (Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library). Judges are librarians and booksellers. Winners and finalists from 2012-2016.

Just Short Stories

Fantasy, Science Fiction, & Horror

  • Bram Stoker Awards -- Awards best dark fantasy or horror novel, first novel, short fiction, etc., selected by members of the Horror Writers Association. List of past winners.
  • Hugo Awards -- Awards fifteen categories of science fiction, including Best Novel, Best Short Story. Selected by members of the World Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon"), so more of a fan-based award than the Nebulas. 
  • Nebula Awards -- Awards Best Novel, Best Short Story and other related categories. Selected by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Mysteries

  • Agatha Awards -- Limited to "traditional" cozier mysteries (no excessive sex, violence or gore), awards for best contemporary novel, historical novel, etc. Selected by the attendees of Malice Domestic, a fan convention held in the DC area annually.
  • Edgar Awards -- Awards best novel, first novel, paperback original, short story, etc. Selected by the Mystery Writers of America. Can search for past winners via a database, or browse Wikipedia's list.

Romances

  • RITA Awards -- Awards works in 13 different categories (various genres in romances). Selected by published authors who are members of the Romance Writers of America. List of past winners.

Award-Winning Poetry

Want to browse award-winning collections of poetry or awards given particular poets? Here is a selection of some of the most prestigious literary awards. I linked to whichever list was easier to browse, the one from the official site, or another such as Wikipedia.

  • Academy of American Poets Awards -- Gives 10 awards for poets, of which the Wallace Stevens Award is the most prestigious. 
  • National Book Award for Poetry -- One award to a U.S. citizen, by the National Book Foundation; one of the top awards for American literature. On the official website, you can see the longlist, finalists, and winners back to 2010, as well as who the judges were, if you click on the years on the left side.
  • National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Poetry -- Critics choice of the best poetry collection of the year, in English published in the US; one of the top awards. Past winners and finalists.
  • PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry -- Awarded every other year for a "poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature". Part of the PEN America Literary Awards.
  • Poetry Society of America Awards -- Gives 10 awards annually, as well as occasionally one of two lifetime achievement awards (Frost Medal and Shelley Memorial Award).
  • Pulitzer Prize for Poetry -- Awarded to the best collection of poetry in English by a US citizen. The judges are mainly academics, journalism professors, editors, and journalists and the top of their field.
  • TS Eliot Prize -- Award given to the best new collection of poetry published in the UK or Ireland, judged by a select panel of poets. Currently sponsored by the TS Eliot Foundation, after the former sponsor Poetry Book Society closed. (Not to be confused with Truman State University Press's TS Eliot Prize.)  

Help with Searching EWU Library Catalog

What’s in the catalog?

  • All of EWU’s physical holdings, including books, videos, CDs, journals, and more.
  • All the physical holdings of all the Summit Libraries—over 9 million titles!
  • Citations for millions of articles.

How do I search the catalog? | How do I locate an item? | I can't find the specific book or video I want. 

How do I search the catalog?

Know the title or author?

If you know the exact title of the item, type in the title "in quotes" and the last name of the author (if known).

screenshot of search for Pride and Prejudice by AustenOr

Click Browse in the top bar and type in the title and/or author. (Note: The Browse function only works for EWU holdings of books or videos, not for titles held by other libraries.)

Find Books on an Author, Work, Theory, or Motif

Type in your keywords. For one or more terms, type the keywords as you would in Google, no AND necessary, e.g. poe gothic.

  • Put exact phrases in quotes, e.g. "new historicism".
  • To find variations on a word, type the stem of the word followed by *, e.g. femin* to find feminism, feminist, etc.
  • If you want to look for either word/phrase, the Boolean operator OR must be in ALLCAPS and in parentheses, e.g. (american OR "united states").

I would suggest using the Advanced Search if you have a fairly complex search. See below.

screen shot of advanced search in EWU Library Catalog

Refining Your Search

example of limiting to both eBooks and Print Books formatsBecause the EWU Library Catalog has records for all types of resources, you will very likely need to limit your search results. Note all the limiters on the left side, as well as some quick limiters at the top.

  • Click on the limiter to narrow by the one limiter.
  • You can narrow to more than one in the category by clicking the corresponding boxes on the left of the limiter (such as limiting by Format to both Print Books and eBooks). Just hover over the limiter to see the box.
  • You can exclude particular limiters by clicking the icon on the right of the limiter. Just hover over the limiter to see this icon.   icon of a checkmark crossed out

Useful limiters:

  • Availability -- Available in the Library -- this will quickly show you the books and videos we have on the shelves in the library
  • Availability -- Full Text Online -- this will limit to the articles and eBooks available
  • Format -- limit to books, audio visual (for DVDs, CDs, etc.)
  • Date -- click on the From/To dates to update, and click Refine
  • Physical Location -- easiest way to limit to a particular collection, such as the Curriculum Center or Reference
  • Subject Terms -- because the subject terms given to articles and books are can be different, it is best to narrow by Format first, then Subject Term.

Mark Your Records

See the push pin icon on the far right (labeled "Keep this item" if you hover over it)? 

screenshot of a brief record in the EWU Library Catalog

Click it and it will change the push pin icon and highlight the brief record yellow. You have marked a record temporarily. Click the push pin icon in the top right corner to view your marked records.

  • Note: To permanently mark a record, you need to be logged in. Click the Sign In tab in the top right corner.

How do I locate an item?

The last line of the brief record describes where the item is located.example of results list for the search poe gothic in the EWU Library Catalog

If the wording is green, that means it is readily available, either online or physically on our shelves at the JFK Library in Cheney or Spokane Academic Library.

  • For physical items, note the location: library (Cheney or Spokane), floor, and call number.
  • For online items: click the green wording (Full text available, Online access, etc.) to link out to the item. 

If the wording is yellow, that means you'll have to request it. Click Check request options - held by Summit libraries. You must be logged in to request the item -- you'll be prompted to if you aren't already.

Once you are logged in, click the link Place Summit request (4-8 days). The form will ask you:

  • Volume number (optional) -- only matters if it is a multi-volume set and you only want one volume
  • Pick up/delivery location (required) -- which library do you want the item delivered to -- the default is Cheney
  • Comment (optional)

​Click REQUEST. You will be notified via your EWU email address when the item is ready to be picked up. 

If the wording is gray, that means either:

  • The EWU copy of the item is checked out. You will have to request it from a Summit library, or via Interlibrary Loan if there is no other copy in Summit.
  • The article is not available online. It may be in a physical copy of the source (and it will display the date range held and call number), or you will have to request it via Interlibrary Loan.

I can't find the specific book or video I want.

While the EWU Library Catalog has millions of records, it only will search through the holdings of the 39 Summit libraries. If you can't find a specific book, video, CD, etc., then go to the EWU WorldCat Catalog and re-do your search. WorldCat has records from thousands of libraries worldwide. You may request the item via Interlibrary Loan.