Thursday, March 11, 2010



Two of the most visited and downloaded stories on The Generalist are:

*A piece I wrote on Truman Capote and the writing of 'In Cold Blood' - supposedly the first 'non-fiction novel'


*A  lengthy series of posts on my friendship and encounters with the great Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński, - a mentor, widely considered one of the great foreign correspondents of our time.

  • Both stories have gained an added relevance due to the publication of a biography of Kapuściński - ' Kapuściński-Non Fiction' -   written  by Artur Domoslawski that has just been published in Poland that suggests (according to the British press at least)  that Kapuściński,was a dishonest reporter who made up stories and invented quotes. What follows is a miscellany of thoughts and perspectives, from many countries, on this important subject - the line between fact and fiction.

    Bearing witness is a sacred trust

    Every writer of reportage ought to learn from the Kapuściński controversy. Creative non-fiction is a slippery slope.

    Timothy Garton-Ash [The Guardian 10 March 2010

    Poland: Ryszard Kapuściński - Fiction or ‘Non-Fiction'?

    By Sylwia Presley. [Global Voice] Interesting aggregator of blog comments, many from Poland. 10 March 2010

    The Lying Traveler: The Kapuściński Case 

    Binoy Kampmark [Scoop Independent News/NZ 10 March 2010]

    Fact, Fiction and Kapuscinski

    By ROBERT MACKEY [The Lede/The New York Times blog 8 March 2010] This is an incredibly interesting corrective to the UK press coverage and contains a long interview with Artur Domoslawski.

    Poland Not Ready for Flawed Heroes

    by Malgorzata Halaba [The Wall Street Journal blogs. 8 March 2010]

    Liquidating the borders between fact and fiction

    Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski's amazing stories may have been just that, a new book suggests

    Ian Jack [The Guardian 6 March 2010]

    Why Believe Kapuscinski's Biographer?

    Patrick Galey [The Huffington Post/6 March 2010]

    A brilliant writer who mistrusted clarity

    Ryszard Kapuściński's work may drift into fiction – but adherence to fact in war reporting can start to feel impossible and pointless

    Lara Pawson [The Guardian 4 March 2010]

    Kapuscinski biography flies off the bookshelves

    [Polish Radio website. 4 March 2010]

    Ryszard Kapuściński was a great story-teller, not a liar

    Critics of Ryszard Kapuściński's books miss the point – there is no sharp frontier between literature and reporting

    Neil Ascherson [The Guardian 3 March 2010]

    I suspected Polish reporter was a fake

    Jon Snow [Channel 4 blog. 3 March 2010]

    Ryszard Kapuscinski: He was hailed as the greatest reporter of his time. But how much did he make up?

    Ryszard Kapuscinski said he knew Che Guevara. He recounted how he met Patrice Lumumba. But according to a new biography, his books were more fiction than fact. Tony Paterson reports

    [The Independent  2 March 2010]

    Poland's top reporter accused of lying and spying in new biography

    Ryszard Kapuscinski, the late Polish journalist, has been accused of collaborating with Poland's communist government and of making factual errors.

    [The Telegraph 2 March 2010]

    Kapuscinski biography to be censored?

    [Polish Radio website. 16 Feb 2010]


    I was the first journalist in the UK to interview Kapuscinski. You can hear that interview on The Audio Generalist

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