Viewport width =
March 24, 2008 | by  | in Books |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

David Mitchell: Why stammering is good for literature

As novelist David Mitchell spoke to a gigantic Embassy Theatre audience, the stammer that he has battled with throughout his life was occasionally in evidence. Occasionally Mitchell would pause for a second to search for a word which would express what he wanted to say, but which he would not stutter out.

Mitchell spent some time discussing the effect of this condition upon his literature, explaining that his stammer has been associated with different sounds during different periods of his life: at one point he would stammer over his Ss but be fine with his Ms; years later, having recovered his Ss, he would stammer his Ms. Furthermore, he stammers over different sounds in Japanese and in English.

While a stammer might seem a dire condition for someone whose life and career is built upon language, Mitchell demonstrated why it has actually been a boon for him. If he wanted to say ‘determine’ but was struggling with his Ds, he would have to search around for a synonym – say, ‘ascertain’. Years of perfecting this method has left David Mitchell with a superb vocabulary, which has in turn helped him develop a series of vastly different narrators, each of whom have their own unique way with language.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. Cuttin’ it with with Miss June
  2. SWAT
  3. Ravished by the Living Embodiment of All Our University Woes
  4. New Zealand’s First Rainbow Crossing is Here (and Queer)
  5. Chloe Has a Yarn About Mental Health
  6. “Stick with Vic” Makes “Insulting” and “Upsetting” Comments
  7. Presidential Address
  8. Final Review
  9. Tears Fall, and Sea Levels Rise
  10. It’s Fall in my Heart

Editor's Pick

This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

: Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided