A life writing workshop with the acclaimed biographer, Dame Hermione Lee
Today at Oxford University’s Centre for Life Writing where I’m a visiting scholar, I enjoyed the privilege of taking part in a workshop with Dame Professor Hermione Lee on the boundaries between fact and fiction in biography.
Hermione established Oxford’s Centre for Life Writing in 2016 and is the acclaimed biographer of Virginia Woolf and Tom Stoppard, amongst many others.
Is it ok to imaginatively reconstruct a scene when there are gaps in the historical record and if so, how much can you do it to retain plausibility?
Is secondhand testimony ok to use or is it so low of the hierarchy of evidence that it should be dismissed?
And whose memories are true anyway when memories are so unreliable? These are the questions we pondered. The true highlight of my research trip.