Lacuna author Paul Williams will be presenting his paper "Writing the Polyphonic Novel", about writing Cokcraco, at Great Writing on 28 June. The abstract for the paper, which will be published in the journal New Writing, is below. For more information about the conference, see http://www.greatwriting.org.uk/.
Writing the Polyphonic Novel
The journey to finding the right voice for a novel can be an arduous one. My novel Cokcraco (Lacuna Publishing, 2013) took fifteen years and many layers to complete. The only way to resolve the issue of voice in this book was to create a multi-layered narrative in which contradictory voices emerged to create a polyphonic whole.
The polyphonic or dialogic novel is nothing new. Mikhail Bakhtin borrowed the phrase from a musical concept referring to the diversity of voices in Dostoyevsky’s novels. Recently, there has been a resurgence of novels of this type that play with simultaneity, contradiction, and the empty space between voices, echoing our post-modern, multi-tasking reading practice.
Cokcraco is an inadvertent polyphonic novel whose layers of discourse evolved during the fifteen year writing process and the author’s struggle to find its ‘voice’. This paper will examine the complex process of writing the polyphonic novel and highlighting its potential value in today’s multiplicitous climate.
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