Voice is choice

  • Cavallaro responds to a question during the panel discussion.

  • Zentner reads from his novel, "Goodbye Days."

  • Emily Henry reads from "A Million Junes."

  • Cavallaro reads an excerpt from "The Case for Jamie."

March 16, 2018

On March 15, the Creative Writing Division celebrated Instructor of Poetry Brittany Cavallaro’s new book with a panel of Young Adult authors.

Cavallaro was joined by authors Emily Henry and Jeff Zentner for an evening of readings, panel discussions and book signings. Henry and Zentner also taught a master class.

During their afternoon master class, Henry and Zentner discussed the idea of voice in writing. “Voice is choice,” Zentner told the students. “All of the choices you make is your voice. I can’t tell you what choices to make, but I can tell you to make choices.”

Zentner and Henry then presented several film clips and readings and asked the students to analyze the choices made by the authors and filmmakers. After the discussion, the duo gave the students a bland, voiceless passage and prompted them to add voice the passage by making choices.

Later that evening, Zentner, Henry and Cavallaro returned to The Writing House to discuss the Young Adult genre. Henry began the session by reading an excerpt from her novel, “A Million Junes.” Cavallaro read a passage from her latest release, “The Case for Jamie,” and Zentner read a portion of “Goodbye Days.”

The trio then moved into a discussion about the inspiration for their settings and characters. “I’m like a bird: I build my nest out of what’s around me,” Zentner said, explaining why his books are set in his native Tennessee.

Cavallaro and Henry also discussed their forthcoming co-written novel, “Hello, Girls.” Cavallaro and Henry described the novel, which will be released in the summer of 2019, as a “Midwestern gothic Thelma and Louise.” Henry encouraged the students to try their own hands at co-writing. “If you haven’t co-written something, you should, because it’s a beautiful challenge,” she said.

The three authors then opened the floor to student questions. For the next several minutes, the trio discussed their writing routines, the publishing process and their favorite writing implements.

After the question-and-answer session, all three authors met with students and signed copies of their books.