Conversations with Biographical Novelists : Truthful Fictions across the Globe
How does a writer approach a novel about a real person?
In this new collection of interviews, authors such as Emma Donoghue, David Ebershoff, David Lodge, Colum McCann, Colm Tóibín, and Olga Tokarczuk sit down with literary scholars to discuss the relationship of history, truth, and fiction. Taken together, these conversations clarify how the biographical novel encourages cross-cultural dialogue, promotes new ways of thinking about history, politics, and social justice, and allows us to journey into the interior world of influential and remarkable people.
“Michael Lackey has distinguished himself as a leading scholar of contemporary literature. In his preface to this provocative collection of interviews, he identifies the biographical novel as a 'countervailing aesthetic form' that is 'strategically different from and even in conflict with the historical novel.' The conversations gathered here express the varied processes these brilliant writers have devised in order to give shape to their unique creative visions. The questions from interviewers are stimulating, the answers are fascinating, and the whole book brings new insights and energies to the study of biographical fiction.” —Joanna Scott, Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English, University of Rochester, USA, and author of Careers for Women (2017)
“Michael Lackey is a pioneer in this area, a brilliant and inventive critic who has lifted the biographical novel to its proper place in the literary firmament. His conversations with key novelists here - an eclectic and international collection - add immensely to his groundbreaking work. These conversations are intelligent, arresting, and informative. This is a major contribution to the field.” —Jay Parini, author of The Last Station (1990) and Benjamin's Crossing (1996)