On Fictocriticism


M. asked me to talk for a bit about the process involved in writing my Ph.D. thesis at the London Consortium, for her class on practice-led research.  As a creative writer, I found it impossible to produce a conventional piece of literary criticism for the thesis because I can never write anything without making stuff up, so I found fictocriticism (a combination of fiction and criticism) an indispensable vehicle.  I ended up putting myself into the text as a character, then using first person narrative to write about my three subjects - Georgiana Molloy, Rosa Praed and myself.  This then tied neatly into the concept of the writing self being divided into two selves - the self which exists, and the self which writes about that existence - as described by Margaret Atwood in Negotiating with the Dead. I also discuss the impact my deafness had on my style, in that because I can't hear everything, I make the rest up, so what I write will invariably be made up of both truth and fiction.

Wordpress didn't like my video (and I am not technologically literate enough to work out why) so I put it on YouTube instead of here, but then they only accept files 10 mins long so I had to break it into 2 bits.  The first section is mostly an extract from my final chapter, and after that there's a discussion of my writing practice, which in this instance was motivated by a need to complete a process of mourning.