Alasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography

Bloomsbury Publishing
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Alasdair Gray, author of the modern classics Lanark, Poor Things and 1982, Janine, is without doubt Scotland's greatest living novelist. Since trying (unsuccessfully) to buy him a drink in 1998, Rodge Glass, first tutee and then secretary to the author, takes on the role of biographer, charting Gray's life from unpublished and unrecognised son of a box-maker to septuagenarian "little grey deity" (as Will Self has called him). A Jewish Mancunian Boswell to Gray's Johnson, Glass seamlessly weaves a chronological narrative of his subject's life into his own diary of meeting, getting to know and working with the artist, writer and campaigner, to create a vibrant and wonderfully textured portrait of a literary great.
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About the author

Rodge Glass is now a novelist (No Fireworks and Hope for Newborns, Faber, 2005 and 2008), but wasn't when he first encountered Gray in a Glasgow pub in 1998. Since then, while pursuing his own writing ambitions, he has filled many roles in the life of the writer/artist. He has taken dictation whenever and wherever asked: whether Gray is in bed, in hospital or drinking soup cold from the can, he is there with a pad or a laptop, awaiting instructions. He has been barman, tutee, secretary, signature forger, driver, researcher, advisor, chief technology negotiator, tea-maker and paper boy, with varying degrees of success. In this book Glass attempts one more role - biographer. Born in Manchester, he lives in Glasgow.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing
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Published on
Apr 5, 2012
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781408833353
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Writers of creative non-fiction are often expected to be able to recreate reality, to deal with, or even access, a singular truth. But the author, like any human, is not an automaton remotely tasked with capturing a life or an event. Whether we tell stories and understand them as fiction or non-fiction, or whether we draw away from these classifications, writers craft and shape writing all writing. No experience exists on a flat plane, and recounting or interpreting events will always involve some element of artistic manipulation: every instance, exchange, discussion, event is open to multiple interpretations and can be described in many ways, all of which are potentially truthful. 

Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Determining the Form contains essays and original writing from novelists, poets, songwriters, musicians and academics. The book covers topics that range from explorations of the role of the author, definitions and representations of the form, self and illness, to the spectral elements of non-fiction and its role in historical narratives. The essays included in this volume address everything from memoir, biography and autobiography to a discussion of musical approaches to criticism and a non/fiction interview. 

The book identifies key writers including Christopher Isherwood, David Shields, B. S. Jonson, James Frey, Åsne Seierstad, John D'Agata, W. G. Sebald, Jonathan Coe, Hilary Mantel, James Kelman, Liz Lochhead and Arthur Frank and is essential reading for students, researchers and writers of creative non-fiction. 

Contents 

Notes on Contributors 

Pathways to Determining Form Laura Tansley and Micaela Maftei 

A Bulgarian Journey Kapka Kassabova 

At the Will of Our Stories John I MacArtney 

She and I: Composite Characters in Creative Non-Fiction Katie Karnehm 

More Lies Please: Biography and the Duty to Abandon Truth Rodge Glass 

Ghosts of the Real: The Spectral Memoir Helen Pleasance 

One doesn t have much but oneself : Christopher Isherwood s Investigation into Identity and the Manipulation of Form in The Memorial Rebecca Gordon Stewart 

Menna, Martha and Me: The Possibilities of Epistolary Criticism Rhiannon Marks 

An Introduction to Schizoanalysis : The Development of a Musical Approach to Criticism Jo Collinson Scott 

Eyes! Birds! Walnuts! Pennies! Erin Soros 

Just Words Erin Soros 

It is in their Nature to Change: On Mis-leading Elizabeth Reeder 

Index
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Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir.  In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his  cash.  He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented.  Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away.  Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Jon Krakauer constructs a clarifying prism through which he reassembles the disquieting facts of McCandless's short life.  Admitting an interst that borders on obsession, he searches for the clues to the dries and desires that propelled McCandless.  Digging deeply, he takes an inherently compelling mystery and unravels the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

When McCandless's innocent mistakes turn out to be irreversible and fatal, he becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines and is dismissed for his naiveté, pretensions, and hubris.  He is said  to have had a death wish but wanting to die is a very different thing from being compelled to look over the edge. Krakauer brings McCandless's uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows, and the peril, adversity , and renunciation sought by this enigmatic young man are illuminated with a rare understanding--and not an ounce of sentimentality. Mesmerizing, heartbreaking, Into the Wild is a tour de force. The power and luminosity of Jon Krakauer's stoytelling blaze through every page.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Writers of creative non-fiction are often expected to be able to recreate reality, to deal with, or even access, a singular truth. But the author, like any human, is not an automaton remotely tasked with capturing a life or an event. Whether we tell stories and understand them as fiction or non-fiction, or whether we draw away from these classifications, writers craft and shape writing all writing. No experience exists on a flat plane, and recounting or interpreting events will always involve some element of artistic manipulation: every instance, exchange, discussion, event is open to multiple interpretations and can be described in many ways, all of which are potentially truthful. 

Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Determining the Form contains essays and original writing from novelists, poets, songwriters, musicians and academics. The book covers topics that range from explorations of the role of the author, definitions and representations of the form, self and illness, to the spectral elements of non-fiction and its role in historical narratives. The essays included in this volume address everything from memoir, biography and autobiography to a discussion of musical approaches to criticism and a non/fiction interview. 

The book identifies key writers including Christopher Isherwood, David Shields, B. S. Jonson, James Frey, Åsne Seierstad, John D'Agata, W. G. Sebald, Jonathan Coe, Hilary Mantel, James Kelman, Liz Lochhead and Arthur Frank and is essential reading for students, researchers and writers of creative non-fiction. 

Contents 

Notes on Contributors 

Pathways to Determining Form Laura Tansley and Micaela Maftei 

A Bulgarian Journey Kapka Kassabova 

At the Will of Our Stories John I MacArtney 

She and I: Composite Characters in Creative Non-Fiction Katie Karnehm 

More Lies Please: Biography and the Duty to Abandon Truth Rodge Glass 

Ghosts of the Real: The Spectral Memoir Helen Pleasance 

One doesn t have much but oneself : Christopher Isherwood s Investigation into Identity and the Manipulation of Form in The Memorial Rebecca Gordon Stewart 

Menna, Martha and Me: The Possibilities of Epistolary Criticism Rhiannon Marks 

An Introduction to Schizoanalysis : The Development of a Musical Approach to Criticism Jo Collinson Scott 

Eyes! Birds! Walnuts! Pennies! Erin Soros 

Just Words Erin Soros 

It is in their Nature to Change: On Mis-leading Elizabeth Reeder 

Index
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