Curious Writer, The, Brief Edition, 5th edition

Published by Pearson (January 2, 2019) © 2018

  • Bruce Ballenger


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For courses in first-year composition and rhetoric.

Writing as exploratory rather than formulaic

The Curious Writer, Brief Edition doesn't read like a textbook nor a set of guidelines for composing essays. Instead, it encourages students to suspend judgment, ask questions, and seek answers. It covers genres beyond the academic essay with a "personality" lacking in similar resources. By acting on their own curiosities, readers develop the habits of mind to become critical thinkers and writers.

The 5th Edition reinforces the assumption that genres are malleable with a new chapter on repurposing or “re-genre-ing.” New projects include transforming a completed writing assignment into a multimedia project.

Hallmark features of this title

Dynamic content organized for inquiry

  • The texts' 4-part inquiry-based approach introduces inquiry-based writing (Part 1); provides practice via interpretive and persuasive inquiry projects (Part 2); focuses on research (Part 3); and serves as a field guide to revision (Part 4).
  • Embedded assessments check understanding and provide timely feedback along the way.
  • Writing assignments foster and assess critical thinking with no significant impact on the grading burden:
    • A 3-act reflection (beginning, middle and end of each chapter) prompts reflection on how to apply learning to diverse writing situations.
    • Chapter-opening exercises introduce writing genres and spark discussion.
    • Invention exercises (Part 2) are designed to help students find and develop topics.
  • Free download: The Pearson Guide to the 2021 MLA Handbook.

New and updated features of this title

Focus on genre and re-genre

  • NEW: Students learn about re-genre when challenged to transform a completed writing assignment into a multimedia project in just one of many innovative projects included (e.g., photographic essays, podcasts, Video PSAs, etc.).

Development of critical writing and reading skills

  • EXPANDED: Reflection is a major focus.
  • UPDATED: A stronger focus on argumentative writing includes assignments with interpretive inquiry and persuasive inquiry.
  • REVISED: Updated coverage encourages students to approach difficult texts through a personal and rhetorical lens.


  1. Writing as Inquiry
  2. Reading as Inquiry


  1. Writing a Personal Essay
  2. Writing a Profile
  3. Writing a Review
  4. Writing a Proposal
  5. Writing an Argument
  6. Writing an Analytical Essay
  7. Writing an Ethnographic Essay


  1. Writing a Research Essay
  2. Research Techniques
  3. Using and Citing Sources


  1. Re-Genre: Repurposing Your Writing for Multimedia Genres
  2. Revision Strategies


  1. The Writer's Workshop
  2. The Writing Portfolio
  3. The Annotated Bibliography

About our author

Bruce Ballenger is an emeritus professor of English at Boise State University, where he taught courses in composition, composition theory, the essay tradition and creative nonfiction. He's the author of seven books, including the three texts in the Curious series: The Curious Researcher, The Curious Reader, and The Curious Writer, all from Pearson Education. His text Crafting Truth: Short Studies in Creative Nonfiction is from the same publisher.

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