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Writer-as-narrator: engaging the debate around the (un)reliable narrator in memoir and the personal essay

Freeman, Robin and Le Rossignol, Karen 2015, Writer-as-narrator: engaging the debate around the (un)reliable narrator in memoir and the personal essay, Text: journal of writing and writing programs, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 1-1.

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Title Writer-as-narrator: engaging the debate around the (un)reliable narrator in memoir and the personal essay
Author(s) Freeman, Robin
Le Rossignol, Karen
Journal name Text: journal of writing and writing programs
Volume number 19
Issue number 1
Start page 1
End page 1
Total pages 1
Publisher Australasian Association of Writing Programs
Place of publication Nathan, Qld.
Publication date 2015-04
ISSN 1327-9556
Keyword(s) first-person creative nonfiction
reliable narrator
writer-as-narrator
Summary Subjective and personal forms of nonfiction writing are enjoying exponential popularity in English language publishing currently, as an interested public engages with ‘true’ stories of society and culture. Yet a paradox exists at the centre of this form of writing. As readers, we want to know who the writer is and what she has to tell us. Yet as writers we use a persona, a constructed character, a narrator who is only partially the writer, to deliver the narrative. How is a writer able to convey ‘true’ stories that are inherently reliant on memory, within a constructed narrative persona?We find a ‘gap’ between the writer and the narrator/protagonist on the page, an empowered creative space in which composition occurs, facilitating a balance between the facts and lived experiences from which ‘true’ stories are crafted, and the acknowledged fallibility of human memory. While the gap between writer and writer-as-narrator provides an enabling space for creative composition, it also creates space for the perception of unreliability. The width of this gap, we argue, is crucial. Only if the gap is small, if writer and writer-as-narrator share a set of passionately held values, can the writer-as-narrator become a believable entity, satisfying the reader with the ‘truth’ of their story.
Notes Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
Field of Research 190402 Creative Writing (incl Playwriting)
Socio Economic Objective 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft)
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30073546

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.