Crafting Voice

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Facilitator: Jacinda Townsend
Dates: November 11 – December 6, 2019
Genre: Fiction
Class Size: 10

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Session Description

When we speak out loud, we have physical traits at our disposal. Our height, the length of our tongues, the size of our sinuses—all of these tangible physical properties shape our speaking voices. Beyond that, we have intangible properties such as our accents, our tendencies to leave off a thought, our regional and cultural slang—all of these help us craft our speaking voices as well. Our speaking voices are so distinctive as to inform other people’s reactions to us. We alter our speaking voices when we want to appear older, or wiser, or more erudite—we alter them when we want to play dumb. We alter our voices when we want to be serious or playful, loving or hateful. Our speaking voices, in so many ways, reveal the very fiber of our being. What tools do we have when we are using the written word? How do we alter our voice on the blank page to create greater emotional resonance in a piece of fiction? In this class we will analyze the subtlements and inner workings of voice, and then share the exquisite work we’ve crafted for the page.

Author Bio

Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which is set in 1950’s Eastern Kentucky and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Saint Monkey was also the 2015 Honor Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and was longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and shortlisted for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize. Jacinda took her first Creative Writing classes at Harvard, where she received her BA, and then cross-registered to take more classes through the English Department at Duke University, where she received her JD. After practicing law for four years, she went on to earn an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and then spent a year as a Fulbright fellow in Côte d’Ivoire. She recently finished a novel called Kif. Jacinda is mom to two children, about whom she writes frequently.