Walking in the World of Ruins: Explorations in the Products and Processes of Autobiographical Fiction

By Ursula Hurley.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

I continue his [Sebald’s] walks in the world of ruins, of what is dead. I continue his contact with a stimulating tendency of the contemporary novel, a tendency that opens new ground in between essay, fiction and autobiography...

So writes Enrique Vila-Matas in his innovative text, Montano. In attempting to map this new ground, the processes and products of autobiographical fictions will be scrutinised with particular reference to questions of authenticity and voice, drawing examples from texts including James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, which problematise genre boundaries, question the relationship between reader and author, and demonstrate how life experience now, literally, has a price. The paper will conclude by proposing the first steps towards a reading and writing practice where, in the words of Goldberg, ‘every page trembles, vulnerable to manifold incursions - of prior texts, of future accidents, of reading and writing’.

References:

Frey, James. A Million Little Pieces. (London, 2004)

Goldberg, Jonathan. Voice Terminal Echo. (New York, 1986) p.7

Vila – Matas, Enrique. Trans. Jonathan Dunne. Montano (London, 2007) p.191

Keywords: Autobiographical Fiction, Emergent Genres, Creative Processes, Creative Products, Authenticity and Voice

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 730.145KB).

Dr. Ursula Hurley

Lecturer in Creative Writing, School of English, Sociology, Politics and Contemporary History, University of Salford, Salford, Greater Manchester, UK

Ursula Hurley teaches Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Salford. An award winning writer, she works in poetry, creative non-fiction and experimental prose fiction. She has recently published her first poetry collection, Tree, with Erbacce Press (http://erbacce-press.com/#/ursula-hurley/4535837556), and her first novel is forthcoming. She was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Writers 2008 (creative non-fiction), and the Gloom Cupboard International Poetry Prize. She has delivered workshops for the Writer’s Handbook LIVE (London) and for The Times Literature Festival, Cheltenham, UK.

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