Lee Gutkind on immersion journalism

April 23, 2009 | One Comment

From an interview with nonfiction guru Gutkind conducted by Eric Parker for Fresno Famous— “[I]mmersions are so wonderful in that you walk into an immersion having an idea, idea A, but by the time you’ve spent three months or six months, you have a new idea, or a different formulation of your idea. Then, if you spend another year or two, your idea sophisticates and focuses even more. So, it’s a constant balancing challenge to make sure that you are …

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Truth and beauty

January 20, 2009 | No Comments

I’ve touched before on the issue of truth in nonfiction, but the latest scandal, involving a fictionalized Holocaust memoir, impels me to return. (Oprah keeps falling for these stories that are too good to be true. Truth often is stranger than fiction but it’s seldom as shapely.) I tell students these are three reasons for honesty: • Practical: A nonfiction writer will destroy his credibility and career by lying. This is an embarrassing reason, as it’s so utilitarian, but perhaps …

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Noted: Annie Proulx

December 27, 2008 | No Comments

from an interview in The Missouri Review, Vol. XXII, No. 2 “The research is ongoing and my great pleasure. Since geography and  climate are intensely interesting to me, much time goes into the close examination of specific regions—natural features of the landscape, human marks on it, earlier and prevailing economics based on raw materials, ethnic background of settlers. I read manuals of work and repair, books of manners, dictionaries of slang, city directories, lists of occupational titles, geology, regional weather, …

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