Migrating from nonfiction to fiction: a practice-led approach drawing on a literary journalist's notional tool-box

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Banks, Glenda and Andrew, Martin (2012) Migrating from nonfiction to fiction: a practice-led approach drawing on a literary journalist's notional tool-box. Text, 16 (1). ISSN 1327-9556


This paper reflects on a literary journalist’s practice-led approach to migrating from nonfiction to fiction and the decision to situate a narrative about the challenges and achievements of women in Victoria’s mid-19th century goldfields in a novel in the subgenre of historiographic metafiction. It addresses the lacuna in the traditionally masculinised history of the gold rush era, opening a window onto the ‘herstory’ of the period, describing the courage of women who overcame poverty, isolation and the limited gender-based expectations of the time in which they lived to set the pattern for the social infrastructure we take for granted today. The first author’s doctoral novel ‘A Respectable Married Woman’ embodies this migration and is informed methodologically by both journalistic and creative strategies. The study focuses on the role of site visits in practice-led research as it applies to literary journalism to create a sense of ‘being there’. The interlocutory reader (Widdowson 1979) is drawn into a narrative construct which hangs evidence-based ‘fictionised truths’ in a factual framework in order to facilitate a greater understanding of a critical period in the growth of Victoria and, in particular, the contribution of women. Drawing on literary theorists including Hutcheon (1998) and Kundera (2000) and referencing writers Ricketson (2006), Sedgwick (2004) and Quindlen (2004) among others, this paper aims to encourage other nonfiction writers to make use of the literary journalist’s notional ‘tool-box’ to take an imaginative leap into the world of credible historiographic metafiction.

Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/10332
Official URL http://www.textjournal.com.au/april12/banks_andrew...
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Education
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Keywords ResPubID24814, literary journalism, practice-led research, historical novel, doctoral novel, historical fiction, fictionalised truths, family myth, lacunae
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