Being asked to recommend a dozen key works on a specialist subject is much harder than it might seem. I decided on academic writing as this is something I know a bit about after a long career absorbed in it, but there are now too many books, papers, theses and unpublished studies for any individual to even approach making a comprehensive list. Google Scholar, for example, brings up a mere 5 million hits on the topic. There is also the issue that any selection probably says as much about the lister as the books listed. All our decisions reflect who we are and so the texts we include will be influenced by our experiences and ideas about what we think writing is, what we see as most interesting about it and how we believe it can be known. Any selection, then, is the outcome of a whole tangle of events in our lives that make us what we are and shape what we are likely to see as important.