Friday, 28 November 2008

Voicing concern

I read an article a few months back about the potential disappointment inherent in going to see a favourite author read from his or her own work.

This really depends on the author. As any regular reader of this blog will know, Aliya is splurging forth podcasts like there's no tomorrow. And a good thing too. When I first heard her read, her tone matches that of her work, so everyone's a winner.

Historical novelist Gregory Norminton is by happy coincidence a trained actor. A few years back at the launch of Book of Voices we had three authors doing a reading in the middle of a RFH exhibition (with visitors unrelated to the launch milling about and making noise), but the promised microphones didn't materialise. The two authors up after Mr Norminton visibly struggled with the reading, but Gregory, who was up first, waltzed it. And of course his booming Shakespearean delivery perfectly matched his Elizabethan-set story. It was a lot for the other two to live up to in all honesty.

My own voice doesn't quite match up to the inner monologue of my 'reading voice' for my own work, although I'm happy to read aloud work by other people. I suppose I'm not so bothered about wrecking their work with my sound, as listeners will know it's not the sound of the author. Story-telling, rather than story-reading, is easier said than done with some types of fiction, and I guess that's part of it.

I guess a similar point can be made about author photos, which other than a marketing tool, serve little purpose--like the voice--but to have a reader pre-judge the work.

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