The Library of Congress > Linked Data Service > LC Genre/Form Terms (LCGFT)

Nonfiction novels


  • Fiction of any length that intentionally blends verifiably factual journalistic research with fictional elements.

  • URI(s)

  • Instance Of

  • Scheme Membership(s)

  • Collection Membership(s)

  • Form

    • Nonfiction novels
  • Variants

    • Documentary fiction
    • Faction (Nonfiction novels)
    • Fictional non-fiction
    • Fictional nonfiction
    • Journalistic novels
    • Non-fiction novels
    • Non-fictional fiction
  • Broader Terms

  • Closely Matching Concepts from Other Schemes

  • Sources

    • found: Oxford dictionary of literary terms, via Oxford reference online, Nov. 2, 2012(new journalism: genre of journalism also known as 'faction' or 'non-fiction novel' developed in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s involving a new blend of fictional presentation with journalistic research and reportage; faction: a short‐lived portmanteau word denoting works that present verifiably factual contents in the form of a fictional novel; although still sometimes used by journalists, the term suffers from the disadvantage of already meaning something else (i.e. a conspiratorial group within a divided organization), so the preferred term is New Journalism)
    • found: Cuddon, J. A dictionary of literary terms and literary theory, 5th ed., via Wiley online, Aug. 26, 2014(non-fiction novel/documentary fiction: a novel based on real events and people, which largely draws on documentary evidence such as newspaper articles, official papers, personal letters, and interviews. Elements of the story's narrative, however--in particular the conversations and thoughts of the protagonists--are the author's invention)
    • found: OCLC, Nov. 2, 2012(titles: The nonfiction novel; The mythopoeic reality : the postwar American nonfiction novel; Fact & fiction : the new journalism and the nonfiction novel)
    • found: LCSH, Oct. 20, 2014(Nonfiction novel. UF Journalistic novel; New journalism. BT Fiction; Reportage literature)
    • found: Britannica online, Apr. 27, 2017:Nonfiction novel (literary genre; story of actual people and actual events told with the dramatic techniques of a novel) New Journalism (New Journalism, American literary movement in the 1960s and '70s that pushed the boundaries of traditional journalism and nonfiction writing. The genre combined journalistic research with the techniques of fiction writing in the reporting of stories about real-life events. The writers often credited with beginning the movement include Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, and Gay Talese; writers in the genre immersed themselves in their subjects, at times spending months in the field gathering facts through research, interviews, and observation. Their finished works were very different, however, from the feature stories typically published in newspapers and magazines of the time. Instead of employing traditional journalistic story structures and an institutional voice, they constructed well-developed characters, sustained dialogue, vivid scenes, and strong plotlines marked with dramatic tension. They also wrote in voices that were distinctly their own. Their writing style, and the time and money that their in-depth research and long stories required, did not fit the needs or budgets of most newspapers ... Many of those writers went on to publish their stories in anthologies or to write what became known as "nonfiction novels")
    • found: Nonfiction novel: definition & examples, via Study.com website, Apr. 20, 2017(Nonfiction is a genre in literature in which real events are depicted using story-telling techniques. Though the people and situations written about are true, the writer has creative license with how to tell the story. This makes the genre's definition rather flexible. Many nonfiction novels are written in such categories as biographies, historical events, travel, science, religion, philosophy, and art; captures the drama of the novel, only with true life facts)
    • found: Wikipedia, Apr. 20, 2017:Non-fiction novel (The non-fiction novel is a literary genre which, broadly speaking, depicts real historical figures and actual events woven together with fictitious conversations and using the storytelling techniques of fiction. The non-fiction novel is an otherwise loosely defined and flexible genre. The genre is sometimes referred to using the slang term "faction", a portmanteau of the words fact and fiction)
    • found: Kluge, A. "Wer ein Wort des Trostes spricht, ist ein Verräter", 2013(short stories about the Holocaust that blur the line between storytelling and reportage; examples of "nonfiction short stories" as opposed to "nonfiction novels")
    • found: Mike, E.C. Words are forever in the heart : fiction and non-fiction short stories, 2007.
    • found: The postmodern short story, 2003:p. 23 (fictional nonfiction and nonfictional fiction; one of the predominant themes of postmodernism is the blurring of lines between fiction and nonfiction; writers of this genre know that it is obvious to the reader that they are lying to tell the truth; in her essay "Facts and Fancy: The 'Nonfiction Short Story,'" Michele Morano explores short stories and essays that blur distinctions between fiction and nonfiction and offer the reader a meta-awareness of "genre negotiation." Morano identifies nonfiction short stories as having the "reality warp" of fiction complicated by nonfictional elements that induce "double vision" in the reader)
    • found: Why we write : the politics and practice of writing for social change, ©2006:pp. 87-88 (Microhistories and nonfiction short stories; both genres emerged in the 1970s; narrative journalism and the nonfiction short story were reactions against investigative journalism's emphasis on fact finding over prose style; both microhistories and nonfiction short stories tend to concern themselves with the everyday experiences of ordinary people; both genres self-consciously employ the techniques of dramatic fiction, including character development, plotting, and conflict resolution; microhistories are not nonfiction short stories; they are micro in focus, not in length)
    • found: Arluke, A. Inside animal hoarding : the case of Barbara Erickson and her 552 dogs, ©2009:p. 2 (The first part of the book is an in-depth portrait of Barbara Erickson that tells her story and captures her voice ... written by a journalist in a nonfiction novella form)
    • found: Black cool : one thousand streams of Blackness, 2012:p. 156 (Mat Johnson is a novelist who sometimes writes other things. He is the author of ... the nonfiction novella The Great Negro Plot)
    • found: Upwork website, Apr. 20, 2017(under Tuba Arshad: I write fictional and non-fictional short stories and novels, along with informative and entertaining articles for magazines; under Joan Mukhwana: An intuitive, innovative and dynamic creative writer who has written several fictional and non-fictional short stories, poetry and is presently working on a novel)
  • General Notes

    • Fiction of any length that intentionally blends verifiably factual journalistic research with fictional elements.
  • Change Notes

    • 2014-12-01: new
    • 2017-07-13: revised
  • Alternate Formats

Suggest terminology


The LC Linked Data Service welcomes any suggestions you might have about terminology used for a given heading or concept.

Would you like to suggest a change to this heading?

Please provide your name, email, and your suggestion so that we can begin assessing any terminology changes.

Fields denoted with an asterisk (*) are required.