New Writing 12- Introduction

(Co-written with Jane Rogers and Blake Morrison, published by Picador)
2003

What makes you fall in love with someone? It might be the way that he or she smiles, or speaks, or walks, or eats, or holds a glass, or sees the world. Whatever it is, we'll find it hard to put into words. And it won't be something we go looking for, but something that catches us by surprise - unexpected, inimitable, unique. 

As with love, so with literature. When we began to edit this year's New Writing anthology, we didn't know what it was we were after. But as we discovered it - as each of us came across pieces which made us say YES! - so an understanding of what we all liked became possible. In particular, we found ourselves responding to voices: imagined voices, authentic (seemingly tape-recorded) voices, voices which come at us from unfamiliar places, voices which shock and move. If there is any  common thread to this volume, it is to do with the skilful use and exploration of voice: voices with a heartbeat and a personality. From the interior monologue musings in Nick Barlay's virtuoso modern love triptych, to the crazed milk-obsessed world of Gerard Woodward's narrator, to the brittle and frighteningly empty voices of Sophie Woolley's Slinky? and to Binyavanga Wainaina's glorious spoof on authentic voices in Kenyan litterachuwa, here are tales that are't just told, but are told in a powerfully original way...
 


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