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Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer
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Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  79 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Voice Lessons is a book about writing from a woman with a remarkable story to tell and an utterly distinctive voice in which to tell it. Nancy Mairs's essays have been called "triumphs... of will, style, candor, thought and even form" (Los Angeles Times). She has won acclaim for her autobiographical writing on themes from living with depression to renewing a marriage, from ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 19th 1997 by Beacon Press (first published 1994)
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Joan Anderson
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite authors. Her book Voice Lessons has freed me to write with some modicum of liberation.
Gave up about 2/3 of the way through for reasons of "I am sick of reading about white women coming to feminism in middle age." And the French feminism herein is not written well. Moving on.
Robin Kirk
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: craft
This was one of the books Martine Leavitt mentioned in a VCFA lecture on Voice. I found it interesting and, in some parts, incisive and painfully accurate. She straddles writing and academe in familiar ways, so I was sort of depressed about this also, since a lot is familiar: the hollowness of most academic writing and thought, the artificial distinctions between "real" inquiry and story-writing, etc. It was also a bit disheartening, though predictable, to see that some of the problems I think I ...more
Lisa Cole
May 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Having experienced the same MFA program and having known some of the same professors, this book has its interesting points, but what frustrates me is that at the same time that Mairs claims that she is not like the average scholar, she almost immediately lapses into these conversations with herself, throwing around the names of French philosophers like helium balloons. The end of the book was more engaging for me; I especially appreciated the chapter regarding the "Literature of Personal Disaste ...more
Dottie Bossman
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was inspiring and full of great "writerly" advice. There were a few uses of feminist theory where she lost me, but this is still a powerful book to read if one is embarking on a serious writing project.
Aug 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer by Nancy Mairs (1997)
Anne Marshall
Sep 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: writing
Didn't finish
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd forgotten how much I love the company of Nancy Mairs.
Linda DeYounge
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Linda by: Rose Peterson
Memoir reading that combines academic, philosophic ideas/writing with a personal flavor. Very interesting combination.
Baxter Trautman
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Those who prefer the intellectual over the heart-felt may appreciate Mairs' advice.
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I think this is one of the best books for women writers, especially women writers who are searching for a voice in a world of language that doesn't always speak their stories.
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Nancy Mairs was an author who wrote about diverse topics, including spirituality, women's issues and her experiences living with multiple sclerosis. She received an AB from Wheaton College, and an MFA in writing and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

She was diagnosed with MS when she was 28, and wrote several essays on her experiences as a self-described "cripple", including "On Being a Cripp
More about Nancy Mairs
“Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, doubtless two of the most exquisitely adolescent of fictions.” 8 likes
“In the grammar of the phallus -- the I, I, I -- [woman] can't utter female experience.” 5 likes
More quotes…