Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Writing for the page and writing to be read aloud

Last night's BBC Radio 4 Front Row programme examined the difference between writing for the page and writing to be read aloud. This is something I have thought about when deciding whether a work is a spoken word piece or if it is to exist on a page to be read. It is also a topic I have discussed with my colleague Jennifer Richards with whom I am organising an event to debate such issues.

Audible is launching three new podcasts featuring original short stories written exclusively for audio. Ben Okri, Booker prize-winning writer of The Famished Road, and bestselling author of Chocolat, Joanne Harris have both written new short stories for Audible. They discuss the particular challenges and joys of writing to be read aloud, and consider the impact of the increasing availability of audio content on the popularity of short-form fiction.

Ben Okri explains that he tends to write with more intensity and clarity when writing for the ear.

He believes that the ear and imagination are more closely linked than imagination and words on a page. When Okri writes, he uses his inner ear to listen to the words internally. However, Joanne Harris reads her writing aloud as she writes. Everything she writes is for the ear and everything is supposed to come off the page.


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