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Tag Archives: Michael Herr

“Why’s this so good?” No. 61: John McPhee and the archdruid

The New Journalism of the 1960s and 1970s – by Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, and others – made the biggest collective splash in recent American nonfiction, and certainly enlarged our idea of what the genre could do. The best of it may endure, but, 50 or 100 years from now, will people still be enthralled by Thompson’s psychedelic ramblings or the early Wolfe’s strings of italics and exclamation marks? More lasting, I think, as a grand pointillist mural of our time and place as expressed in the lives of an encyclopedic range of people, will be the work of John McPhee.

“What’s on your syllabus?”

Every narrative journalist can point to a story or a book, or two, that changed their lives, and that made them want to tell true stories. What story does it for you? Where was your love born? When we asked about influential writing via Twitter, answers came in a flurry. Wright Thompson said North Toward Home, [...]

Mary Karr on truth: “the least of my problems as a memoirist, as a writer, is getting my facts right”

Author Mary Karr showed up Friday in Grapevine, Texas, in the middle of a thunderstorm to talk about telling the truth. The first keynote speaker at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, Karr addressed an after-dinner crowd of hundreds. Best known for “The Liars’ Club,” “Cherry” and “Lit,” she is also a Pushcart Prize-winning poet and [...]