When Truman Capote published his 1959 groundbreaking ‘non-fiction novel’ In Cold Blood, he pointed to an obvious inconvenience that came with the new literary territory: ‘The reporter, unlike the fantasist, has to deal with actual people who have real names’.
The high stakes of creative non-fiction – the fact that real people are affected – are the genre’s allure as well as its fundamental problem. Could anyone get away with a book like In Cold Blood today?
For this discussion, hosted by creative non-fiction author, editor and teacher Lee Kofman, we’re bringing together some stars of Australia’s creative non-fiction scene. Our panellists will discuss their own research and writing practices, their rules to write by and their heroes in the genre.
What defines creative non-fiction? How are attitudes towards creative non-fiction changing among writers, publishers and the reading public in Australia today? And do great works of this genre derive their energy from their authors’ ethical predicaments?
Clare Wright is an award-winning historian and author who has worked as an academic, political speechwriter, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster.
Ramona Koval is a writer, journalist, broadcaster and editor. She is an Honorary Fellow at the centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne.
Kate Holden is a popular public speaker, has published two books and also writes short stories, a fortnightly column in The Age, reviews and essays.
Lee Kofman is the Israeli-Australian author of the acclaimed memoir The Dangerous Bride, published by Melbourne University Press, and three fiction books. She is also the co-editor of an anthology of the recently published Australian female memoir, Rebellious Daughters. Her short fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry have been widely published in Australia, US, UK, Scotland, Israel and Canada, including in Best Australian Stories, Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, Westerly and Griffith Review. Her writing received numerous awards. Lee also mentors writers and is the blogger-in-residence for Writers Victoria. Her personal blog was a finalist for Best Australian Blogs 2014.