Fact or Fiction: Latin American Reportage

New Journalism. Crónica . Creative nonfiction. Whatever you call it, and whatever labels we continue to conjure up to describe a genre that has been around in one form or another for a very long time, the genre occupies an in-between space, with one foot in the world of journalism and another in fiction. Despite its association with the 1960s, some have suggested writers such as Defoe and Twain as progenitors of the form in its Anglophone variety. On these coasts, the early giants include Gay Talese (“Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” has become a staple in journalism programs not only in the States, but abroad), and today Jon Lee Anderson is just one of the better-known writers in this august tradition. More recently, longform journalism has evolved to point of being taught in many MFA programs throughout the US. In Latin America, the tradition of the crónica in a form we would recognize stretches back at least to Cuban writer and revolutionary José Marti. During his stint living in New York between 1881 and 1895, he composed more than 175 such texts as part of the series “North American Scenes.” (If, given the season, you’re interested in seeing […]

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