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February 14 , 2009

Telling True Stories

Navigating the challenges of writing narrative non-fiction


'In this excellent and provocative book, Matthew Ricketson lays bare the challenges of modern storytelling. I have found myself thinking about it every day, long after I put it down.' - William Powers, author of Hamlet's BlackBerry
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'An essential guide for the true storyteller.' - Chloe Hooper, award winning author of fiction and non-fiction

It's etched into our neurological pathways; we can't live without it. Telling true stories is one of the things that makes us human, and a strong narrative has the power to profoundly change the way we think.

Truman Capote's ground breaking In Cold Blood set the tone and narrative non-fiction now appears in print and online journalism as well as in books. Capote's work is also a classic case study of the thorny issues arising in telling true stories: how to maintain editorial independence while becoming close to your subject; how far to take the narrative when reporting on real events; whether an 'omniscient narrative voice' is appropriate for non fiction; and what kind of relationship to create with the reader.

The stakes are high: true stories deal with real people, often at turning points in their lives. Matthew Ricketson uncovers the techniques of some of the best international practitioners from America, Australia and Britain, and shows how to produce authentic, vibrant and memorable writing.
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