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The Art of Life:

Are biographies fiction?

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  • The Debate

    The Art of Life

    Writers claim to be able to uncover the truth about figures from the past, from Cromwell to Lincoln. Is
    this a mistake? Would it be better to accept that history itself is a fiction? Or would this damage our understanding of who we are and make us prey to fantasists and romantics?

    The Panel

    BAFTA-winning director of High Fidelity and The Queen Stephen Frears and leading biographers Hermoine Lee and Ray Monk contemplate the limits of life writing.

  • Find out more about speakers

Jump to what you want to see in the debate
  • Hermione Lee
    The Pitch
    Historical truths are constantly shifting
  • Ray Monk
    The Pitch
    Biographers can present an truthful representation
  • Stephen Frears
    The Pitch
    All biography should just be seen as a form of entertainment
  • The Debate
    Theme One
    Is history fiction?
  • The Debate
    Theme Two
    The biographer's dilemma
  • The Debate
    Theme Three
    Life as myth
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