(510) 859-4718 customersupport@namw.org

Sue William Silverman
February 23, 2024
11 AM PST | 12 PM MST | 1 PM CST | 2 PM EST

Creative nonfiction relies on two major voices when turning life into art: the unaware voice (which presents the lived, past experience) and the aware voice (the author-narrator who makes sense of that past experience with present-day insights). In this webinar, Sue will discuss the major differences between the two as well as how they work in conjunction with each other. She will also provide examples showing how the unaware narrator, who relays a past action, needs the aware narrator to shed light on that action. In other words, this aware voice—the “you” writing in the present—is the voice of the narrator able to reflect back and provide metaphor, emotional authenticity, insight, and meaning. Understanding the difference between these voices—when and how to use them—is crucial for your writing. Once these voices are fully present on the page, you are then crafting your hard-earned words into publishable memoirs. At the heart of any discussion of memoir is the need to recognize how this genre affords seemingly ordinary people the opportunity to present their lives in extraordinary ways—ways that speak, universally, when these two voices work in tandem.

  • Memoir engages two major voices to turn your life into art: the unaware and the aware voice. This webinar will explicate how and when to implement each.
  • Without the aware voice, the author only has a compilation of what happened in the past without the necessary insight, reflection, and metaphor to turn life into art.
  • If you think your life is uninteresting and not worthy of writing, this webinar will show how to turn a seemingly ordinary life into art by combining action with reflection.
  • By deepening your work through these two voices, you’ll understand how and why your memoir will be more publishable.
  • Through the use of voice, we craft memoirs that journey from solitary rooms into the world in the form of books that speak to a universal audience.


Sue William Silverman is an award-winning author of eight works of nonfiction and poetry. Her most recent book is Acetylene Torch Songs: Writing True Stories to Ignite the Soul. Her previous book, How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences, won the gold star in Foreword Reviews Indie Book of the Year Award. Other works include Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction, made into a Lifetime TV movie; Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, which won the AWP Award; and The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. She is faculty co-chair in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. www.SueWilliamSilverman.com

To read a review of Acetylene Torch Songs: Writing True Stories to Ignite the Soul, accompanied by an interview, please see Hippocampus: http://tinyurl.com/3kmkkkak


Sign up below to receive access to Zoom and the recording.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from NAMW.

You have Successfully Subscribed!