"In all creative writing, the question of what is true and what is real are two very different considerations. Figuring out how to dance between them is a murky business."
In Most of What Follows Is True, Michael Crummey examines the complex relationship between fact and fiction, between the “real world” and the stories we tell to explain it. Drawing on his own experience appropriating historical characters to fictional ends, he brings forward important questions about how writers use history and real-life figures to animate fictional stories. Is there a limit to the liberties a writer can take? Is there a point at which a fictionalized history becomes a false history? What responsibilities do writers have to their readers, and to the historical and cultural materials they exploit as sources? Crummey offers thoughtful, witty views on the deep and timely conversation around appropriation.
About the authors
Michael Crummey is the author of four books of poetry, and a book of short stories, Flesh and Blood. His first novel, River Thieves, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, his second, The Wreckage, was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His most recent novel, the bestselling Galore, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book. Under the Keel is his first collection in a decade. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Margaret Mackey is Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. She has published a wide variety of articles and chapters on the subject of young people’s reading and their multimedia and digital literacies. Mackey’s work is highly interdisciplinary; her numerous international presentations include talks on young people’s literature, multimedia and adaptations, education and literacy, computer gaming, and more. Her interest in these topics was initiated during her youth in Newfoundland; although she grew up in the 1950s, her childhood experiences included a range of media that fed into her inveterate book-reading. She is now pursing questions about how children ‘s developing skills in processing a variety of media are affected by their geographic location and their understanding of landscapes, both real and fictional.
"Fiction writers influence the way people see the world around them. And with that influence comes authorial responsibility.... Crummey offers a double proviso to the debate over cultural appropriation. He recommends impatience with the blinkered novelist who doesn’t deign to learn about the world he or she is describing. And perhaps more importantly, Crummey asks that a generous dose of tolerance, be given to that minority of one, the author, who is doing his or her best to tell us a story."
Literary Review of Canada
"[Crummey examines] Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Wayne Johnston’s The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, Lisa Moore’s Open and Alligator, Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News, Howard Norman’s The Bird Artist, and Crummey’s own River Thieves. These parallels bring into relief the question of whether there is something greater to be served by deviations from the factual... All creative writers appropriate the world to some extent—and might get things wrong—but sensitivity to an evocative, true, and aesthetically meaningful depiction is key." [Full article at https://canlit.ca/article/parallel-stories/]
Other titles by Michael Crummey
Ten Canadian Writers in Context
New and Selected Poems
Brick Books Classics 5
David Blackwood: Prints of Newfoundland
Under the Keel special hardcover edition