Rosemary Kay

Hybridised Genres: Accessing Spaces Conventional Biography Cannot Reach

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Biofiction; Hybridisation; Intergeneric.

To understand the proliferation of works navigating biography/fiction intersections, Nigel Hamilton (2016) suggests "[i]nterviewing fictionwriters who've gone down this path". Being a fiction-writer and an academic, I examine the biography/fiction nexus from both perspectives, using the praxis of writing "Between Two Eternities" (Kay 2000), my (auto) biography/semi-fictionalisation of a premature baby. Harnessing verifiable primary sources - concurrent daily diaries/medical notes - it embraces conventional biographical rubric, obeying Hermione Lee's "Ten rules for biography" (2008). Yet the invented infant "voice", recording the child's perceptions, uses adult language, rendering it semi-fictional. Saunders suggests that Sassoon, writing the semi-fictional "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer" "needed to view himself as a character in a novel, in order to write about his experiences" (2010: 6). Like Sassoon, I found conformist biography inadequate, therefore I used hybridised modes, permitting me to process/narrate a life, which otherwise defies expression. A case-study of process rather than product, this is an investigation into literary praxis in a plethoral, fragmentary and highly mutable culture.

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