'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.' (Publication summary)