On Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing the Creative Writing Fellows from Oxford Brookes discuss the subject of ‘voice’ at the Oxford Literary Festival. I wrote a review for Daily Info, but didn’t have the space there to share some of the gems Philip Pullman came out with, who inspired thought and mirth with his nuggets of wit and wisdom.
Here are a few that I remember; paraphrased from my memory and barely legible notes:
- On considering readers while writing: “It is none of their damn business what I write.”
- On whispering his work aloud: “Literature belongs in the mouth and ear as well as the eye.”
- When a work-in-progress starts to falter: “I go back to the last piece of living wood and start again from there.”
- On the narrative voice: “It is old and young, clever and slow, male and female; it is like a sprite, humans cannot enter each others’ heads.”
And here’s another quote from fellow panellist, poet Patience Agbabi: “I write because my ink must flow like blood.”
Writers, I hope these bon mots get your ink pumping.