Fiction & Creative Nonfiction


this-cover-150This Is How I Speak recounts author Sandi Sonnenfeld’s first year in the MFA program in fiction writing at the University of Washington. Issued by Seattle independent publisher Impassio Press, This is How I Speak is a moving, entertaining, and intimate portrait of an ambitious young New York dancer turned writer trying to negotiate love, sex, loss, a bad therapist, and endless Seattle rain at one of the nation’s leading creative writing programs.  To purchase this book, please visit your local independent bookstore or buy it directly from the publisher.


“I read This Is How I Speak in a single sitting, captivated by Sandi Sonnenfeld’s beautiful and brutally honest odyssey through love, a woman’s wounds, literary evolution and yes, even a portrait of the creative writing faculty at the University of Washington in the 1980s. This former prof gives her an A-plus.” – Charles Johnson, National Book Award Winner and author of Middle Passage and Dreamer

“It’s difficult to easily categorize This Is How I Speak. Somewhere between a diary, biography, literary memoir and confessional lies a captivating story of one woman’s winning literary achievements and her recovery from a sexual assault. Her diary is filled with insight, from her work in the arts to her blossoming skills and identity. This Is How I Speak is absorbing, high-impact coverage.”– Midwest Book Review

“This Is How I Speak is an auspicious debut—voraciously sincere, often disturbing, but profoundly literary. One level of thought seamlessly spins into another until we’re left in a whirl, wanting more.”–Tim Hohmann, Fiction Editor, Hayden’s Ferry Review

“Sonnenfeld’s angry dismissals of arrogant professors and weepy writer’s workshop sessions are smart, self-assured, and astonishingly accurate. The narrative itself, in spite of its diary form, is clever and rewarding–which means either she learned a lot at the University of Washington about how to write or she knew it already before she got there.” –Christopher Frizzelle, The Seattle Weekly

“Refreshing–and enjoyable in an unabashedly voyeuristic sense. There are also moments of brilliant observation, of humility, of literary growth and of arrestingly lyric prose.”– Sherri Boggs, Pacific Inlander Weekly, Spokane

“A quick and interesting read… What it lacks in the kind of reflection and maturity that a more traditionally crafted memoir would provide, it makes up for in raw feeling.” – Amy Strong, Library Journal

“Author Sonnenfeld’s deliberate resistance to the urge to convert her 10-year-old diary into a memoir or novel (amid pressure from a bevy of editors and advisors to do the same) pays off handsomely in this remarkable debut, a powerful and intimate portrait of a budding writer who relunctantly surrenders a dance career.” – The Boox Review

This Is How I Speak is a joy to read.  The narrative style is engaging, with good forward momentum.  Sonnenfeld’s honesty and vulnerability are both reassuring and affirming;  her insights are level-headed and wise.”  – Libby Fabricatore, Foreword Magazine

“Sonnenfeld does a superb job of explicating the creative process.”  – Kristine Huntley, Booklist

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