And we’re off: Writers’ Inner Voices at the Edinburgh Book Festival

Jennifer Hodgson writes:
Hello from a very sunny Edinburgh, where we’ve decamped to the Edinburgh International Book Festival to begin work on the second part of our Writers’ Inner Voices study, part of the Conversations With Ourselves strand of events. For the next two-and-a-bit weeks, we’ll be interviewing some of the writers on this year’s bill and reporting from the festival on the findings of our research into inner voice and literary creativity.
The Conversations With Ourselves series of events got off to a fabulous start today with “The Voices in Our Head”, a panel exploring the creation of characters in fiction through the prism of inner voice, with writers Nathan Filer, Edward Carey and Matthew Quick, chaired by our very own Charles Fernyhough. You can view a précis of today’s discussions here.

P.S. There’s no warmer welcome than a shout-out on the Guardian’s books blog. Follow the link to read the Guardian’s profile of the project.

Introduction to Writers’ Inner Voices

The idea that writers “hear” the voices of their characters is a common one. Some writers even go as far as to claim that the characters that people their narratives seem to somehow write themselves: that they, the writer, are a mere conduit for voices that appear to have lives all of their own.

The aim of the Writers’ Inner Voices project is to try to understand writers’ and storytellers’ inner speech and the role that the inner voice or voices play in the process of literary creation.

Many writers – from William Blake, to Charles Dickens, to Joseph Conrad, to Philip K. Dick – have written or talked about experiencing auditory verbal hallucinations, or hearing voices that others cannot hear. The Writers’ Inner Voices project also aims to explore what relationship there might be, if any, between writers’ experiences and the experience of hearing voices.

During the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival, as part of the Conversations with Ourselves strand of events, we interviewed authors and storytellers about their creative process and finding out more about the ways that writers and storytellers imagine, hear, listen to and converse with the voices of their characters. You can read more about the project on the blog, where we documented our interviews with authors and storytellers during the festival.

This project is being conducted by members of the Hearing the Voice project at Durham University in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Book Festival.