More than just tone or perspective, voice in creative non-fiction is the writer’s signature on a particular true story. It refers to the unique ways in which we understand our material and reflect that understanding back towards our readers. In this workshop, we will explore some of the many choices involved in the process of turning our messy and complicated selves into credible and original true story narrators.
Are you drawn more to Virginia Woolf’s, ‘If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people’ than to Joan Didion’s, ‘Style is character’? Let’s discuss. We will also look at the strategies and tools we can draw upon when faced with the challenges of crafting a compelling narrative voice. As well as authorial perspective and tone, topics will include: finding what you want to say, the reporting and research process, voice versus self, reflection versus observation, fact versus opinion, explanation versus implication, and balancing objectivity with empathy.
Through selected readings, discussion, and in-class interviewing and writing exercises, we will challenge ourselves to broaden how we think about voice in creative non-fiction, as well as the techniques we can call on to craft the true stories we want to tell.
1. It would help to have a voice recorder (i.e., the voice recorder function on an iPhone or similar or a dictaphone) and headphones, this is not compulsory though. There will be class interviews and writing exercises and recording them may be useful.
2. Please bring in your favourite example of an author’s voice in creative non-fiction – no more than two paragraphs. You can bring print outs of these or bring in the book, magazine etc. and please be prepared to explain why that extract stands out for you.
Sarah Krasnostein was born in America, studied in Melbourne and has lived and worked in both countries. She is a law lecturer and researcher with a doctorate in criminal law. Her first book, The Trauma Cleaner, won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Prize for Non-Fiction in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2018. Sarah lives in Melbourne and spends part of the year working in New York City.
Date: Thursday 2 August Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm Where: Byron Community Centre, 69 Jonson Street, Byron Bay Cost: $120 General / $100 Members