Event section image

“Sound Puppet: A Pen Friendship Between East and West”



Dr. Heidi Stalla

Dr. Heidi Stalla

Assistant Professor, Humanities, Yale-NUS College


1000-1100, 02 Apr 2019


AAB 610, Academic and Adminstration Building, Baptist University Road Campus, HKBU

Speaker's bio:

Heidi Stalla is Assistant Professor of Humanities at Yale-NUS College where she teaches both literature and creative writing courses.  She is a modernist scholar and a creative writer with a particular focus on life-writing, and is interested in exploring intersections between genres, fields, and multi-medias.  Stalla has just finished a book about the autobiografiction of Virginia Woolf, and aside from a collection of audio essays, is working on a second book that combines experimental biography, memoir, and literary criticism to explore ideas about kings and homelands.  



Heidi Stalla, in collaboration with a sound artist, is currently working on a collection of Creative Nonfiction audio essays that use modernist texts and/or historical events to explore present day situations.  The essays will touch on themes that range in scope from war to art to ideas about writing and expression in the 21st Century.  In this particular audio essay, she uses text and sound to explore a transnational relationship between British writer, Virginia Woolf, and Chinese artist and writer Ling Shu Hua.  In 1937, Ling wrote to Woolf asking for help writing her autobiography in English.  Ling asked Woolf if she could call her “teacher” or “tutor”, which some critics find strange as Ling was already a well-established writer in China.  However, autobiography was not a typical form at that time in China, especially for women, while Woolf had spent much of her writing life thinking about how to best combine fact, real lives, and fiction in her work.  This audio paper uses the correspondence between Woolf and Ling to explore what it means to use personal material in a way that reaches a universal audience, and how modern technology, in this case through sonic compositions, can help to convey spiritual depth in writing—essentially achieving the same kind of effect that Woolf felt she was not able to achieve in language during her writing life.