Joanne Harris’s ‘A Writer’s Manifesto’

Commissioned by Writers’ Centre Norwich, author Joanne Harris has created ‘A Writer’s Manifesto’ and spoken out about the need for mutual respect between authors and readers.

As blogs are one of the major places we see the discussion of writers’ works, I feel that this is something that should be shared in this space. As a book reviewer, I love to examine what I like about books and what I think could have been approached differently. I have spoken before about the need to remember that writers are people too and I certainly hope that I am always respectful, but this manifesto has given me food for thought and I hope everyone can appreciate that authors never claimed to be able to write for everyone, or even to write perfectly for us as an individual, and they certainly never claimed to fix the world. Mutual respect people.

A Writer’s Manifesto:

1. I promise to be honest, unafraid and true; but most of all, to be true to myself – because trying to be true to anyone else is not only impossible, but the sign of a fearful writer.

2. I promise not to sell out – not even if you ask me to.

3. You may not always like what I write, but know that it has always been the best I could make it at the time.

4. Know too that sometimes I will challenge you and pull you out of your comfort zone, because this is how we learn and grow. I can’t promise you’ll always feel safe or at ease – but we’ll be uneasy together.

5. I promise to follow my story wherever it leads me, even to the darkest of places.

6. I will not limit my audience to just one group or demographic. Stories are for everyone, and everyone is welcome here.

7. I will include people of all kinds in my stories, because people are infinitely fascinating and diverse.

8. I promise that I will never flinch from trying something different and new – even if the things I try are not always successful.

9. I will never let anyone else decide what I should write, or how – not the market, my publishers, my agent, or even you, the reader. And though you sometimes try to tell me otherwise, I don’t think you really want me to.

10. I promise not to be aloof whenever you reach out to me – be that on social media or outside, in the real world. But remember that I’m human too – and some days I’m impatient, or tired, or sometimes I just run out of time.

11. I promise never to forget what I owe my readers. Without you, I’m just words on a page. Together, we make a dialogue.

12. But ultimately, you have the choice whether or not to follow me. I will open the door for you. But I will never blame you if you choose not to walk through it.

This was created as part of the National Conversation which examines how we produces and engage with writing. You can find out more at www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk.

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