Creative Nonfiction: True Stories With A Subjective Twist
Creative Nonfiction, sometimes called literary or lyrical journalism, grew out of the work of maverick writers—Tom Wolfe and Truman Capote, for example—who created a new form by adding a subjective twist to their nonfiction reporting. Over the past five years, the form has come into its own, with novelists, poets, and journalists adding their voices to the growing number of practitioners working in the genre. Today, creative nonfiction is the fastest growing literary form, with pieces appearing regularly in prestigious publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Harper’s, as well as in newspapers, literary quarterlies, and online magazines.
Creative nonfiction is more than simply memoir writing or autobiography, though both certainly fit the description. Essays that adhere to the form are as likely to be authored by doctors, philosophers, historians, and scientists, writing within their disciplines, as by poets, novelists, or other artists. Stephen Jay Gould, Oliver Sacks, Tracy Kidder, and Gay Talese, to name a few, have all written creative nonfiction essays. According to Lee Gutkind, editor of the literary journal Creative Nonfiction, people drawn to the creative nonfiction form have “an intellectual curiosity about the world around us or a fresh viewpoint or approach to staid and seemingly inaccessible disciplines.”