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Roundtable What Is Creative Nonfiction? Two Views For this issue's roundtable discussion, we invited noveUst and nonfiction writer Bret Lott, and editor/Uterary journaUst Lee Gutkind, to share their views about creative nonfiction, as weU as to discuss what draws them to the genre. Bret Lott is the author of the novels The Man Who Owned Vermont, A Stranger's House, Reed's Beach, The Hunt Club, and the best-selling novel and Oprah's Book Club pick, Jewel. He is also the author of the story collections A Dream of Old Leaves and How To Get Home, and the memoir, Fathers, Sons, and Brothers. His short stories have been widely anthologized, and have appeared in such journals as TheYale Review, Story and The Southern Review, and have been read on National Public Radio in nationwide broadcasts. Selectionsfrom Fathers, Sons, and Brothers have appeared in, among otherplaces, The Chicago Tribune, The Antioch Review, The Gettysburg Review and The Iowa Review, and have been cited in the 1994, 1995, and 1996 volumes ofBest American Essays. Bret Lott grew up in southern California and Phoenix,Arizona, graduatingfrom CaI State Long Beach in 1981 with a B.A. in English, after havingfirst been a forestry major at NorthernArizona University, then returning to California to become a marine biology major, then quitting school to become an RC Cola salesman, then returning to CaI State to declare a secondary education major, untilfinally, afterfive years, deciding to take his creative writing teacher's advice andgoingfor an M.F.A. He attended the University ofMassachusetts,Amherst, where he studied writing under the late James Baldwin, and received his M.F.A. in 1984, and after teaching remedial English at Ohio Statefrom 1984 to 1986, he accepted a teaching position at the College ofCharleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is Writer-in-Residence and professor ofEnglish; he also teaches in the M.F.A. program at Vermont College. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, with his wife, Melanie, and two sons, Zebulun andJacob, and is presently at work on a new novel and a coUection ofessays on the art ofwriting; a new story collection is also being preparedforpublication. 191 192Fourth Genre Lee Gutkind,founder and editor ofthepopularjournal, Creative Nonfiction, has performed as a clownfor Ringling Brothers, scrubbed with heart and liver transplant surgeons, wandered the country on a motorcycle, and experienced psychotherapy with a distressedfamily—all as researchfor eight books and numerous profiles and essays. His award-winning Many Sleepless Nights, an inside chronicle of the world of organ transplantation, has been reprinted in Italian, Korean, and Japanese editions, while his most recent nonfiction book, An UnspokenArt, soon to bepublished in the Republic of China, was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. The University of Southern Illinois Press recently re-issued Gutkind's book about major league umpires, The Best Seat in BasebaU, but You Have to Stand! which USA Today called "unprecedented, revealing, startling and poignant. " Former director ofthe writingprogram at the University ofPittsburgh and currently professor of English, Lee Gutkind has pioneered the teaching of creative nonfiction, conducting workshops, and presenting readings throughout the United States. Also a novelist andfilmmaker, Gutkind is editor ofThe Creative Nonfiction Reader (a series ofanthologies,from Tarcher/Putnam), Emerging Writers in Creative Nonfiction book seriesfrom Duquesne University Press and Director ofthe Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Writer's Conference at Goucher College in Baltimore. Toward a Definition of Creative Nonfiction Bret Lott The Reverend Francis Kilvert, an English curate in the Welsh Border region, kept a journal of his Ufe—where he went, what he did, what he dreamt, who he knew, and what he thought—from 1870 to 1879. In the journal he wrote, "Why do I keep this voluminous journal? I can hardly teU. Pardy because Ufe appears to me such a curious and wonderful thing that it almost seems a pity that even such a humble and uneventful Ufe as mine should pass altogether away without some record such as this." Kilvert's Diary, pubUshed in 1941 and reprinted in 1960, serves as a beautiful, moving , and genuine gUmpse into country life of that time nonetheless. AU weU and good, but how does it help...


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