What is Nonfiction in LiteratureWhich is nonfiction in literature?
The PEN World Voices Festival: Is it non-fiction?
íAre non-fiction? That was the provoking questions posed by Philip Gourevitch, Colum McCann and Norbert Gstrein during a podium debate in the Museum für Jüdisches Erbe audience. Gourevitch, who was both a presenter and a contributor, found that Nobel Laureates like V.S. Naipaul have sometimes authored exceptional non-fiction books, but no one has yet won the literary award for his or her non-fiction work.
According to Gourevitch, non-fiction seems to be trapped in the fissures of the literature world. At first Gstrein said that the separation between literature and non-fiction was not particularly interesting. The nonfiction clarifies certain questions: the storyteller is more or less the same as the author, and the topic is considered to be material.
On the other side, in the fictional, the author has to define the basic principles of his own realities. Of course, the belletrist can introduce facts from the actual word into literature, and Gstrein quoted W.G. Sebald, Danilo Kis and Jorge Luis Borges as some of the most interesting people who have done so.
But on the other side, Peter Handke, who writes about the former Yugoslavia, is an example of how a novelist can get into difficulties by quickly and easily toying with fact. As Gstrein went on to say that folks are reading non-fiction for information while reading fairy tales for more vague motives, Gourevitch stepped in.
íA poor article for information,ë Gourevitch said. In the same way that you can put several experienced photographs in virtually the same place in the countryside and they take clearly different photographs, a good non-fiction author places a particular emphasis on the work. It is this use of fantasy that distinguishes literature from the journal.
One bookstore in the public noticed that after September 11, many clients said they no longer wanted to study literature. But when Tariq Ali was asked what folks should be reading to get an understanding of the contemporary realm, he did not suggest the use of Islamic websites or stories. He said we should be reading books.
Notwithstanding his own dedication to elaborate articles, Gourevitch said his own answer to 9/11 was not to be reading textbooks about Al Qaeda or the Taliban. íWhen we don't try to picture the life of others,ë McCann said in the next thing to a review that this incident created, íwe are íwe totally doomed. And fiction and non-fiction, if done well, each deliver a way to do that.