Thursday, October 18, 2012

Quammen on Fact vs. Fiction

Science writer David Quammen, who visits today, talks to about the responsibility of nonfiction writers not to take creative liberty with the facts:

"Fact or truth, yeah, that question. I utterly distrust the word truth. I detest it when writers claim they are hedging on factuality in service to higher truth. Or sometimes it's the essential truth of a situation. Bullshit. Nonfiction should be composed, artfully but conscientiously, like a mosaic, from bits of accurate fact. Is it an art form? well, it can be, it should be. Artful, imaginative, accurate: this combination of adjectives is not contradictory. Readers should demand this of their nonfiction, and not settle for self-indulgent, falsified jive. The form in which this boundary has been most egregiously violated recently is the memoir. Ugh."

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