Chapter and verse on the problems of writing

Share Button

Dr Helen Tookey in conversation with Professor Joe Moran about his new book, ‘First You a Sentence’. Pic © Ben Higgins JMU Journalism

The difficulties faced by writers are the focus of a new book which has been published by a lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.

Professor Joe Moran spoke in conversation with Dr Helen Tookey about his acclaimed work, entitled ‘First You Write a Sentence: The Elements of Reading, Writing… and Life’ at an event in Waterstones in Liverpool on Tuesday night.

The book is a Professor Moran’s extensive guide on how to turn ordinary words in to compelling literature.

He is a Professor of English at LJMU, whilst Dr Tookey is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the same university.

Using sources from The Bible and Shakespeare to George Orwell and Maggie Nelson, Professor Moran shows readers how to write in a way that is clear, thoughtful and alive.

Professor Moran, who has also written for The Guardian and New Statesman, said he wanted “to challenge contemporary ideas about writing”.

YouTube: Ben Higgins

He told the audience: “A lot of my favourite books about writing I don’t always agree with, so that’s why I wrote a book about sentences; a book which embodies what it is trying to be.

“I think there is an idea now that writing is just about ‘comment and argument’, particularly online. Where you get a piece of work and then you see the comments, which are essentially never actually responding to the piece of writing.

“Writing isn’t just about argument. It isn’t just a statement that you agree with or not, it is also about how it says it, and not what it says.”

Professor Moran went on to highlight the importance of written work to students. He said: “We also shouldn’t forget the central point of writing. It is an act of communication.

“So I will say to students, don’t forget that you are giving somebody something when you write.”

About Ben Higgins, JMU Journalism