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Type: Thesis
Title: Crafting true stories: an interpretation of four Australian journalists’ nonfiction writing practices
Author: Ruwanpura, Varunika. S. H.
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Humanities : Media
Abstract: Nonfiction books written by Australian journalists are increasingly recognised by scholars (Joseph 2016a; Keeble 2015) as authentic contributions to literary journalism. This study undertakes a case study analysis of the nonfiction writing practice of four Australian journalists: Christopher Kremmer, Annabel Crabb, Ben Stubbs and Shannon Harvey. Their explanations of key influences on their nonfiction writing such as news reporting experiences and motivations for writing nonfiction are investigated. The story-crafting techniques they each employed to write one nonfiction book, namely, Inhaling the Mahatma (Kremmer 2006), Ticket to Paradise (Stubbs 2012), The Wife Drought (Crabb 2014) and The Whole Health Life (Harvey 2016) are a focal point of this analysis. Present scholarship indicates a gap in knowledge of Australian journalists’ nonfiction writing practices that this study seeks to partly address. A case study methodology was adopted as it enables in-depth analysis (Saldaña 2015) of individual journalists’ nonfiction writing styles, and “because it is one of the most immediately recognised genres of qualitative research” (Saldaña 2015, p. 3). Each case comprises a narrative analysis of two semi-structured interviews with each journalist, informed by reading and interpreting the abovementioned books. Sims, a pioneer literary journalism scholar, advises that studies should not “mimic that of [only] one sector of the academy” (2009, p. 8). Therefore, this study is based on related concepts from journalism studies and philosophy, and it was informed by late philosopher Sartre’s view that “writing is a certain way of wanting freedom” (1947, p. 65), where the author assumes sole responsibility for texts they create. With works of nonfiction, like those examined in this thesis, this concept of author accountability is especially important. Concepts from journalism studies are used to interpret the journalists’ nonfiction writing practice: Geiber’s (1964) view that creating longer news narratives is an intensely personal experience for sensitive journalists despite organisational and government restrictions imposed on them; Sims’ (1984) five key characteristics of literary journalism; and Eason’s explanation of literary journalists who write in a “realist” style (2008, pp. 192-193). While literary journalism scholarship has flourished in the United States of America and the United Kingdom since at least the 1960s (Sims 1984), scholarship in Australia is still developing (Ricketson & Joseph 2015). This study investigates the nonfiction writing approaches of four journalists to identify how their nonfiction books contribute to Australian literary journalism.
Advisor: Bowd, Kathryn
Barbour, Kim
Schedneck, Jillian
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MPhil) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2019
Keywords: Australian literary journalism
writing practices
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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