Voice First: A Writer's Manifesto
Though it is foundational to the craft of writing, the concept of voice is a mystery to many authors, and teachers of writing do not have a good working definition of it for use in the classroom. Written to address the vague and problematic advice given to writers to “find their voice,” Voice First: A Writer’s Manifesto recasts the term in the plural to give writers options, movement, and a way to understand the development of voice over time.
By redefining “voice,” Sonya Huber offers writers an opportunity not only to engage their voices but to understand and experience how developing their range of voices strengthens their writing. Weaving together in-depth discussions of various concepts of voice and stories from the author’s writing life, Voice First offers a personal view of struggles with voice as influenced and shaped by gender, place of origin, privilege, race, ethnicity, and other factors, reframing and updating the conversation for the twenty-first century. Each chapter includes writing prompts and explores a different element of voice, helping writers at all levels stretch their concept of voice and develop a repertoire of voices to summon.
Praise for Voice First: A Writer's Manifesto
"A great resource—writers of all strokes will appreciate this spirited look at the craft."—Publishers Weekly
"Through essays and writing prompts, Huber helps writers identify, develop, and experience the many voices used when writing."—Poets & Writers
“Voice First is an intellectual tour de force and a work of great generosity. Huber dismantles the myth of a writer’s ‘authentic voice,’ acknowledging instead that all writers have multiple voices, no one more or less authentic than any other, freeing us from an insistence on sameness and opening up for every writer a universe of possibility.”—Sarah Einstein, author of Mot: A Memoir
“Sonya Huber brilliantly illuminates the intricate paths writers can take to shape their voices on the page. Huber’s own voice is packed with joy, fire, wisdom, and spirit, and her manifesto offers both indispensable advice and valuable prompts. Voice First is an inclusive, compassionate, and necessary book for writers and anyone teaching the art of writing.”—Dinty W. Moore, author of Crafting the Personal Essay
“Huber’s book is a class in itself—a workshop on naming and finding the glorious, the cantankerous, the jubilant, the apprehensive, the mischievous, and the assiduous voices within. . . . I cannot wait to share Voice First with educators teaching in diverse, inclusive settings and their writing students.”—Bryan Ripley Crandall, director of the Connecticut Writing Project and associate professor of English education at Fairfield University