The Hard Bits in Literary Non-Fiction

Sat 10 October 2015 - 10:00am to 4:00pm
Maria Tumarkin
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Photo of Maria Tumarkin in front of a red brick wall

Focus on some of the most difficult-to-get-right aspects of writing literary non-fiction of any length. Tackle those inescapable ethical questions – what do writers owe to those they write about, both the living and the dead, and to their readers? Think about how best to integrate research into your narrative and about what it takes to develop, and sustain, a powerful non-fiction voice.

You will learn

  • How ethical dilemmas of many kinds may be truthfully addressed in and out of the piece of non-fiction you’re writing
  • How to develop and stay true to a voice that can handle the unique demands of contemporary narrative non-fiction with its frequent blending of narrative, reportage, analysis, confession and argument
  • How best to draw on different research modes – immersion, synthesis, analysis, reconstruction
  • How to integrate your research into the narrative without those clunky and painfully obvious insertions of background information, mini-lectures, heavy-handed digressions or switching to the “report mode”
  • How to problem-solve around the trickiest and most frustrating hurdles your project throws at you

About Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin is a writer, cultural historian and the author of three acclaimed books of literary non-fiction: ‘Traumascapes’, ‘Courage’ and ‘Otherland’. Alongside her books, she writes reviews and essays on everything from our culture’s obsession with food to the rise of “disaster porn”. She works on collaborative projects with theatre makers, visual and sound artists, psychologists and other writers.


Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne 3000