Art for the Written Word

As seen on Dateline NBC

Truck by John Jerome
This one-of-a-kind retrospective brings together, for the first time, a rich selection of pieces from Wendell Minor's extraordinary body of jacket art, coupled with lively commentary from authors and others in publishing on the relationship between a book's cover and what is inside.

Wendell Minor: Art for the Written Word includes over one hundred full-color reproductions of original artwork that has adorned the covers of best-selling books by Ray Bradbury, Mary Higgins-Clark, Pat Conroy, Louise Erdrich, Fannie Flagg, Jean Craighead George, John Hersey, Garrison Keillor, Tracy Kidder, Patricia MacLachlan, David McCullough, Larry McMurtry, James A. Michener, Toni Morrison, Anton Myrer, Ruth Rendell, Judith Rossner, Martin Cruz Smith, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and many, many more. Contrary to popular wisdom, the point made by writers here time and time again is that you can judge a book by its cover - especially if that cover is illustrated by Wendell Minor.

What the authors have to say:

"Wendell Minor's talent is uncommonly fine. The paintings he has done for my books honor them with their elegance and simplicity. I write for a thousand pages and Wendell shows me what I mean in a single image."

-Pat Conroy

"I've been a fan of Wendell Minor's work for years without being aware of it, admiring his book covers and never quite remembering the name. Then he did a cover for me and suddenly he became unforgettable."

-Garrison Keillor

"Wendell Minor has always created magnificent cover art for my books. From the very first one, Where Are the Children?, he captured the mood I wanted to convey."

-Mary Higgins Clark

"I must confess that when I write a book I never have a cover in mind. But if I did, I think it would resemble the covers that Wendell Minor has composed for my last three books. All of them have caught the spirit of what I was trying to write."

-Tracy Kidder

"They say you must never judge a book by its cover, but I do, and so do most people, and so thank goodness Wendell Minor did both my covers."

-Fanny Flagg

"Wendell Minor is a master. No one else has created so many fresh and beautiful designs for the market while maintaining his own integrity as a painter. In persuing his vision with brilliance, Minor is unique in his field."

-Anton Myrer

"In the world of publishing there is no one quite like Wendell Minor. Indeed, his value to the whole world of books, to publishers, editors, authors, booksellers and to millions of readers who care about books, can hardly be overstated."

-David McCullough


"Surveying Minor's work, it's easy to see why writers are in awe of him: He's an artist in total command of his craft."

-People Magazine

cover of the paperback release of 'To kill a Mockingbird'
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
"Before setting up his easel to paint another book cover, Minor does something basic: he reads the book. Some 1,500 books and jackets later, that preparation illuminates his mysterious pictures, which this handsome album showcases."

-Book list

"Imagine having a collection of your favorite book jacket art, minus the intruding type heralding the book's title and author. Wendell Minor's Art for the Written Word (Harcourt Brace, 1995), an extraordinary "retrospective" of his 25 year career as a book jacket artist, [is] a must for the bibliophile."

-The San Francisco Review of Books

"...everyone who reads has undoubtedly come across the cover art of Wendell Minor. For 25 years, his distinctive paintings, with their paradoxically mysterious clarity have graced the books of a wide range of writers. The grim Hopperesque realism he produced for Mary Higgins Clark's Where Are the Children?, the fusion of reality and fantasy for W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe - both illustrate perfectly his philosophy: 'A good cover has to have a sense of time and place, a sense of the atmosphere of the book...I think of it as a picture puzzle with one or two pieces missing. Only by reading the book will they be found.' This celebration of art includes scores of Minor's book covers as well as an appreciation by David McCullough."

-Kirkus Reviews

"A ho-hum response to this book - 'oh, book covers, thats nice' - becomes impossible as these monologues build into a psalm of delight for all the wonderful stories represented here, and this one artist's wonderful talent at translating them into canvas and pigment."

-The Christian Science Monitor

Samples from Art for the Written Word:
click on thumbnail for a larger image






  1. Do Not Worry About the Bear by Michael Rogers
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. Truman by David McCullough
  4. Famous Ghost Stories edited by Bennett Cerf
  5. Truck by John Jerome

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