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AS Byatt: 'Faction' is not the way forward

13th August 2009

AS Byatt has described the responsibility that authors must accept when putting pen to paper, warning that the trend for incorporating semi-biographical details into fiction is a potentially dangerous one.

In an interview with the Booker prize organisers posted online, the celebrated author says it is often damaging to 'put people into stories' given the scope for exposing secrets or personal moments best kept private.

Describing the debilitating impact writing can have on families, she recounts a tale where children in one literary family had resorted to burying the typewriter in the garden.

'I know at least one suicide and one attempted suicide caused by people having been put into novels,' she told The Man Booker Prizes website.

'I am also afraid of the increasing appearance of 'faction' - mixtures of biography and fiction, journalism and invention. It feels like the appropriation of others' lives and privacy.'

Byatt, famous for her 1990 Booker prize winner Possession, is up for the Booker prize with her latest novel, The Children's Book.

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