If you were to ask me as a teacher of creative writing what the hardest thing to teach is, I would immediately respond “voice.” We all recognize it when we see it—a narrative style that makes you sit up and take notice, one that feels fresh and wholly original—a style that is as unique and individual as an author herself. Voice elevates an ordinary story and makes it memorable, even extraordinary—and when a voice feels authentic, we as readers feel like something so natural must also be easy to pull off.
But take it from me--it’s not.
That’s why when I read Ann Dee Ellis’ work for the first I was blown away. I cannot think of another YA writer who has the gift of voice in the way she does. She has it in spades. Pick up one of her novels, start reading it, and you’ll see what I mean. Ann Dee’s voice draws you into fictional words that simultaneously ring both eccentric and true. Her use of language is startling.
“Voice,” however, without heart can feel like mere novelistic wizardry, which Ann Dee’s narratives never do because her work always resonates deep within us. We truly feel for her characters, young and vulnerable, as they struggle to make sense of a world that can be both capricious and cruel—a world where everything is not always fine. And yet these very struggles somehow manage to take Ann Dee’s characters to a place of hope, a place of possibility.
Please join me and the staff of The King’s English in welcoming the very gifted Ann Dee Ellis.