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William Knowlton Zinsser Edit Profile

Editor , educator , writer

William Knowlton Zinsser, American editor, writer, educator. Board directors Brooklyn Museum, 1967-1972. Served with Army of the United States, 1943-1945, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations. Member of Century Assn, Coffee House.

Background

Zinsser, William Knowlton was born on October 7, 1922 in New York City. Son of William Herman and Joyce (Knowlton) Zinsser.

Education

Bachelor of Arts, Princeton University, 1944;Doctor of Humane Letters, Rollins College, 1984;Doctor of Letters, Indiana State University, 1985;Doctor of Letters, Wesleyan University, 1988.

Career

He began his career as a journalist for the New York Herald Tribune, where he worked as a feature writer, drama editor, film critic and editorial writer. He was a longtime contributor to leading magazines. Zinsser is a graduate of Princeton University.

The Zinssers lived in Manhattan and in Niantic, Connecticut. Throughout the 1970s, Zinsser taught writing at Yale University, where he was the fifth master of Branford College (1973–1979). He served as executive editor of the Book-of-the-Month Club from 1979 to 1987.

He lived in New York City. He retired from teaching at The New School and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism because his glaucoma had advanced. His 18 books include On Writing Well, which is in the seventh edition.

Writing to Learn; Writing with a Word Processor. Mitchell & Ruff (originally published as Willie and Dwike). Spring Training; American Places.

Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs. Writing About Your Life. And most recently, Writing Places, an autobiography.

The American Scholar ran William Zinsser's weekly web posting, "Zinsser on Friday," featuring his short essays on writing, the arts, and popular culture. In his books, Zinsser emphasizes the word "economy". Author James J. Kilpatrick, in his book The Writer's Art says that if he were limited to just one book on how to write, it would be William Zinsser's On Writing Well.

He adds, "Zinsser's sound theory is that 'writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it." Zinsser interviewed Woody Allen in 1963 for the Saturday Evening Post. Zinsser died at the age of 92 in Manhattan on May 12, 2015.

Works

Religion

After a chance encounter in 1980, Allen cast Zinsser, a Protestant, in a small role as a Catholic priest in his film Stardust Memories.

Membership

Board directors Brooklyn Museum, 1967-1972. Served with Army of the United States, 1943-1945, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations. Member of Century Assn, Coffee House.

Connections

Married Caroline Fraser, October 10, 1954. Children: Amy Fraser, John William.

father:
William Herman Zinsser

mother:
Joyce (Knowlton) Zinsser

spouse:
Caroline Fraser

children:
Amy Fraser Zinsser

John William Zinsser