February 26, 2011, by Thomas Legendre
Patricia Duncker: The Writer’s Unwritten Contract with the Reader
Patricia Duncker came to the university on 24 February 2011 to deliver a talk entitled ‘The Writer’s Unwritten Contract with the Reader.’ Currently a Professor of Contemporary Writing at the University of Manchester, Duncker has written numerous works of fiction and criticism while also serving as editor of Honno, The Welsh Women’s Press.
Drawing on her experience as a writer, teacher, scholar, and editor, she discussed the craft of fiction and its relationship with the publishing trade. In particular she described how a novel’s opening serves as a microcosm for the work as a whole and how dialogue, plot, and setting function as elements in a narrative. She also discussed the characteristics of ‘book club fiction’; the perils of charm, sincerity, and politeness; and the importance of taking risks in one’s writing. She concluded with an explanation of why, regardless of age or gender, one should ‘become an old woman’ to be a successful author.
Listen to a taster of Patricia Duncker’s talk.
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