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Aurelie Sheehan discusses 'truth and fiction in storytelling'

ASheehan_Credit Cybele Knowles In a piece she wrote for The Story Prize blog, Aurelie Sheehan (Jewelry Box, Fall 2013) "parses the strange relationship between truth and fiction in storytelling." Early on in her writing career, Sheehan experienced the common tension between truth and fiction in storytelling, especially with the "write what you know" advice she received in college. She realized, over time, that she was consistently trying to mask the origin of her ideas, characters, and other "inspirations" gleaned from reality and lived experience. "In my new book of stories, Jewelry Box: A Collection of Histories, I wanted to work with this edge, this double life as fiction writer and reality revealer more directly -- hence these pieces are 'fiction' but they are also 'history.' For once I just grabbed what I wanted from my own life without apology. Doing this was useful, not because it got me any closer to writing a memoir or autobiography, but because shifting the paradigm broke the locks on some stories. The pieces in Jewelry Box are no more or less confessional or factual than the stories and novels that I carefully constructed not to be  me. What changed, simply, was a sense of prerogative. I made liberal use of my life, finding or revealing or creating a passel of psychological, intellectual, and imagined states. I wrote what I knew (!), using the craft of fiction to tell my own stories." To read the entire piece by Aurelie Sheehan, click here. Also check out this Essay Daily piece by Sheehan, as she discusses and praises author Zadie Smith and her book, Changing Minds: Occasional Essays. To purchase your own copy of Jewelry Box, visit the BOA Bookstore.


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