Letters to a Young Artist

  • by Anna Deavere Smith
  • Narrated by Anna Deavere Smith
  • 4 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From "the most exciting individual in American theater" (Newsweek), here is Anna Deavere Smith's brass-tacks advice to aspiring artists of all stripes. In the manner of Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, Deavere Smith mentors her young artist over a period of five years, sharing her hard-won wisdom about the challenges and rewards of the artistic life. Drawing on her own life experiences as an actor, teacher, and playwright, Deavere Smith provides a motivating example for how to pursue one's art without compromise, while offering tips on everything from how to stay healthy to building a diverse network of friends and professional alliances. Honest, passionate, and inspiring, this audiobook has life-changing potential.


What the Critics Say

Audie Award Finalist, Personal Development, Motivational, 2007
"With a pithiness that wards away the preachy, Smith succeeds in conveying the pain, the joy, and the effort that characterize a life on the stage and in the world." (Publishers Weekly)
"Smith is generous, vulnerable, and perceptive. Readers of all disciplines will come away from these pages feeling opened, nurtured, and eager to follow Smith's call to action." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Heartening and a joy!

What made the experience of listening to Letters to a Young Artist the most enjoyable?

ADS has a warmth in her voice and delivery that makes the advice and recollections feel as though they are being delivered by a trusted family member. Like a gentle hand on your knee, reassuring your progress and path in authenticity.

Who was your favorite character and why?

As this was not a fiction piece, Anna Deavere Smith was my favorite character.

Which character – as performed by Anna Deavere Smith – was your favorite?

She did some characterizations but her recollections as herself were my favorite.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I wouldn't think an extreme reaction would come from this content, but it did make me contemplative.

Any additional comments?

I would love to meet the author and discuss art and creativity even more because of this book.

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- Taj


Would you listen to Letters to a Young Artist again? Why?

I HAVE already listed to it again and will continue to keep it as a reminder of the principles I strive to up hold as an artist in this time of amazing change.

What other book might you compare Letters to a Young Artist to and why?

Perhaps Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people" but in a creative sort of way. This book is not only a wonderful guide for the creative individual who's just trying to put a plan into perspective which is a very intense and complicated thing to do with creativity. (the flux of the unknown) It's also a guide to becoming a better human being. Being an artist is about taking responsibility of an amazing gift. It is not an excuse to avoid responsibility in any way shape or form because of the beautiful uninhibited, unpredictable, and out of this world influence that artists are sometimes afraid to loose with scary words such as presence and timeliness as well as many others that Anna Deavere Smith tackles like pro linebacker at the Superbowl. Bravo, Ms. Smith. I work full time as a professional artist and hung on every word with a smile and a wow. Thank you for sharing this creative wisdom.

Which character – as performed by Anna Deavere Smith – was your favorite?


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Just smile.

Any additional comments?

This book is a great book for any creative venture. Whether creative bookkeeping or building a sculptural mind maze for the long trip through the worm hole to Mars... It's a guide, and a sweet invitation into what great things we can accomplish with principals to keep us intact, giving art and creativity a purpose of greatness as well as an open path.

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- colleen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-03-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.