Helen SwordMay 3, 2023
Writing with Pleasure
Princeton University Press 2023
Listen to this interview of Helen Sword, professor emerita in the School of Humanities and the Centre for Arts and Social Transformation at the University of Auckland, founder of WriteSPACE, an international virtual writing community, and author of Writing with Pleasure (Princeton UP, 2023). We talk about how pleasure is difficult-but-good.
Helen Sword : "If you have a text that has not been written with pleasure — it's been like pulling teeth for the author — it's going to feel the same way for the reader. So I think an issue with a lot of academic writing is that we have to read a lot of things that we don't enjoy, and then we get this message that that's how we're supposed to write too. So, it just becomes this never-ending cycle. But what if we brought in here the potentialities of play and reversed this situation and thought, 'Okay, I'm going to write with pleasure, I'm going to be excited about this, I'm going to create a beautifully crafted sentence or paragraph so that my reader will read it and just go, "Oh, wow, they put that so well."' And I don't even mean fancy or anything — I mean just good communication of the science, for example. A clearly written sentence about a complex idea — that is beautiful, and it's a joyful experience to read."