I’ve been experiencing an upturn in reads over the past few months, which has led to the purchase of archaism.co.uk; I want to thank you all for your readership!

At the weekend, I went to the Oxford Literary Festival (which is still running, so you should venture to see it if you can), and I was priveleged to see Philip Pullman, Patience Agbabi and Kate Clanchy lecture on ‘voice’ in fiction. It’s a fascinating concept, and a much lauded one – indeed, I recently read an article on the same topic in last month’s Writing Magazine – but also one that has some complications.

I didn’t feel that the lecture itself directly answered the question, how does one find his/her/its voice?, but instead spoke fluently around the concept of narrative form, function and authors being composites of all that they have read.

Each author (the latter two of whom I had never heard, but am not very excited about, especially Agbabi’s forthcoming Canterbury Tales rewrite) spoke their thoughts for around ten minutes, and then the final half an hour was opened to questions from the floor which advanced the discussion well.

There were still a number of questions left unanswered – partially because there were so many, but mostly because the discussion was a fruitful one that could have covered the entirety of the festival had it the chance.

My question is this – and really it should and could be considered by all that read and all that write, and thus is open to you.*

We talk of ‘finding our voice’ and that authors are composites of what they have read; so is it really that we have to find and uncover our voice, or is it really a case of founding it from a number of disparate sources?

* Yes, you.


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