Lawrence Patchett

Lawrence considered the impact of ideas about authenticity on form in biographical fiction. An outcome was the book of short-stories I Got His Blood on Me.

PhD awarded 2012

Authenticity and form in biographical fiction

Lawrence writes: 'Many writers have turned to biographical fiction in recent decades. What's behind this surge of interest in fiction about real people, and what are the limitations and possibilities of this borderline genre? Are writers constrained by the need to write an 'authentic' account of the life and times, as per the conventions of traditional biography?

'My critical component explored attitudes towards authenticity and form in the work of some contemporary writers, including Colm Toibin and Joyce Carol Oates, before focusing on three New Zealand novels: Mansfield, Lovelock, and Biografi. Early findings of this project were outlined in Booknotes 168 (Autumn 2010).

'The creative component was a collection of short biographical fictions set in New Zealand and focused on frontier themes. Stories from this project were collected in I Got his Blood On Me: Frontier Tales (Victoria University Press, 2012), which won the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book for Fiction in the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards. Stories from the PhD project also appeared in The Long and the Short of It, Sport, Dominion Post, and Nth Degree: New Australian Writing.'

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