“Voice” is something writers talk about a great deal, but often without a clear sense of what it means. In this class, we’ll approach it as concretely as possible. We’ll break down the elements that make up fictional voice and discover how we might use voice to create work that is distinctive and, hopefully, unforgettable. We’ll look at a number of examples of published work with strong and interesting voices, and I’ll offer exercises for you to begin experimenting with the techniques we consider. On the second day, we’ll discuss a page of your own writing with an eye toward how voice is already working, and how you might put it to greater use.
Garth Greenwell is the author of the novel What Belongs to You, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. A New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice,” it was named a best book of 2016 by National Public Radio and by over 50 publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Publishers Weekly, and The Paris Review. It is being translated into ten languages. Greenwell’s short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, VICE, and elsewhere, and he has contributed nonfiction to The New Yorker, The London Review of Books, The New York Times, and The Atlantic. He holds graduate degrees from Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow. He lives in Iowa City.