“Writing nonfiction means I tell people’s stories for them, not because they’re special but because we all are.”
— Jo Deurbrouck, award-winning author of Anything Worth Doing.
“You can tell a more over-the-top incredible story if you use a nonfiction form.”
“In fiction, when you paint yourself into a corner, you can write a pair of suction cups onto the bottoms of your shoes and walk up the wall and out the skylight and see the sun breaking through the clouds. In nonfiction, you don’t have that luxury.”
— Tony Robbins, life coach, philanthropist, and author of Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook.
“I’m a reluctant writer of nonfiction, in part because I don’t really feel qualified.”
— William Gibson, American-Canadian speculative fiction writer and essayist widely credited with pioneering the science fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk. Author of Neuromancer (1984).
“We are moving beyond the nonfiction novel to different kinds of narrative art, different forms of cognition. Loaded with moral and political point, narrative has been recalibrated to record, honour, and protest the latest historically specific instance of futility and mess.”
— Geoff Dyer, English award-winning author of books such as Another Great Day at Sea and Otherwise Known as the Human Condition.
“The challenge in fiction is to write a terrific story. The challenge in journalism is to communicate solid, objective information. The challenge in creative non-fiction is to do it both and to do it well.”
— Lee Gutkind, American writer, speaker, and literary innovator, founder of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction. Author of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.
“The thing I always tell my writing students — I’m not a full-time instructor, by any means, but periodically I’ve taught writing students — what I always tell them is that the most important thing in narrative nonfiction is that you not only have to have all the research; you have to have about 100% more than you need.”
— Erik Larson, American journalist and bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake.
“Nonfiction is more personal for me. It’s more personal in that it’s more direct, and actually it’s always been more direct, even when I first started doing pieces.”
— Joan Didion, popular American essayist and author of many books, including the bestselling The Year of Magical Thinking.
“For me, choosing between fiction and nonfiction is really only about picking the right tool for the job.”
— Colson Whitehead, award-winning author of Underground Railroad and The Intuitionist.
“How you solve your problems are quite different. In non-fiction, you can always go back to the research, whereas in fiction, you have to go back to yourself — which is a little bit scary.”
— Mark Kurlansky, American journalist and writer of general interest non-fiction, and author of international bestseller Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World.
“My favourite all-time work of fiction: Lord of the Rings. My favourite all-time nonfiction book: Guns, Germs, and Steel. Ask me again next week, you’ll get a different answer.”
— Orson Scott Card, bestselling science fiction author of many books, including Ender’s Game.