Writers’ Inner Voices
Writers’ Inner Voices is a qualitative study of literary creativity that explores the way in which writers experience the presence, agency and voices of the characters they bring to life in their writing.
A collaboration between Edinburgh International Book Festival and Durham University’s Hearing the Voice, the project was launched as part of Conversations with Ourselves – a strand of events at the 2014 Festival exploring the medical, spiritual and literary aspects of hearing voices.
Over 100 Festival authors took part in the study, the interim findings of which are available to read here.
You can find out more about Writers’ Inner Voices by listening to the audio clips below:
- ‘Inner Voices: How writers create characters’, BBC Writers’ Room, December 2014
- Episode of BBC Radio 4’s Open Book, in which host Mariella Frostrup interviews our researcher Jennifer Hodgson, March 2015 (22:48).
Readers’ Inner Voices
Systematic studies of experiences of reading are few and far between. In 2014, Hearing the Voice collaborated with the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Guardian in order to investigate how readers hear (or don’t hear) the voices of characters when they read.
Over 1560 people participated in the study, which involved completing an online survey probing their experience of characters’ voices, their inner speech and their proneness to hallucination-like experiences.
The results of the study are now available to read freely in the following research paper:
- Ben Alderson-Day, Marco Bernini and Charles Fernyhough , ‘Uncharted features and dynamics of reading: Voices, characters, and crossing of experiences’, Consciousness and Cognition, 2017.
More information and media coverage can be found at the links below:
- ‘Fictional characters make ‘experiential crossings’ into real life, study finds‘, The Guardian, February 2017.
- ‘Fictional characters influence us in real life, study reveals‘, The Independent, February 2017.
- ‘Actors, narrators and total silence: How you hear voices when you read’, The Guardian, September 2014.
Writers’ Inner Voices and Readers’ Inner Voices are both supported by the Wellcome Trust, as part of the Collaborative Award in Humanities and Social Sciences awarded to Hearing the Voice.