Friday, January 14, 2011

Creative Writing and Neurolinguistics

Livia Blackburne recently wrote an essay titled "From Words to Brain" about words' journeys from a written page to the readers' minds. The summary on Amazon is below:

What is it that transforms a page full of words into an experience that moves us and leaves us changed? Livia Blackburne explores this cognitive process, from its objective beginnings on the page to the reader's personal investment in the story. The essay, which combines scientific expertise and a flair for storytelling, weaves together current results from cognitive psychology with examples from the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood. From wolves to functional magnetic resonance imaging, the essay draws the reader through the text and ultimately beyond it. Because "the experience of reading a story does not end with the last page." That's the point at which the real development begins.
From Words to Brain is approximately 7000 words.

I highly recommend the essay for anyone interested in the connection between the page and the reader. However, I know that not all people are willing to pay $3.99 for an essay, so here are two more sources where you can find Livia's insights on the written word and its connection to the brain.

Livia also runs two blogs: A Brain Scientist's Take on Writing (for the creative writers out there) and Reading and Word Recognition Research (for the linguists out there). I am fascinated by both blogs--she does an amazing job of tackling huge scientific concepts and making them more accessible to her blog readers. She is becoming well-known in the creative writing world as a source for new ways of thinking about the art of writing and how it is, indeed, a process that affects the brain as well as the soul.


  1. Thanks so much for the shoutout and kind words, Jessie!

  2. You're quite welcome. I look forward to reading your future posts and published essays!