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TG&M: Fiction or non-fiction: Does it matter any more?

from The Globe And Mail

RUSSELL SMITH

Fiction or non-fiction: Does it matter any more?

Published Wednesday, Feb. 01, 2012 3:46PM EST

Author James Frey appears on The biggest topic in literature these days – aside from the endless e-book debate – is, once again, the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

We dissected this issue in 2006, after James Frey’s bestselling memoir of addiction turned out to be untrue. At the time, many people – particularly artists – argued that there was no reason to dismiss a powerful narrative simply because it was labelled non-fiction. They thought we would have enjoyed it just as much if we had known we were reading a novel.

The Frey incident actually caused a backlash, I think, against journalistic accuracy among creative writers. It is so cool to say now that story is all and truth is irrelevant. I have heard of a university teacher of “non-fiction” encouraging students to make stuff up in their memoirs. (The fact that memoir-writing is now a common graduate-level university course is also evidence of the rise of this issue.)

Now, the focus of the discussion has turned the other way, not to things that claim to be true, but to things that claim to be art.

[ click to continue reading at The Globe And Mail ]

Posted on February 8, 2012 by Editor

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