The criteria for a text to be classified as Non-fiction is the factual nature of the subject matter. Not that the subject matter has to be an undisputed, completely objective fact—many would argue there is no such thing—but the subject matter has to be dealt with as truth within a particular context.
The Non-fiction genre is incredibly broad, and encompasses far more than written texts. The criteria for a text to be classified as Non-fiction is the factual nature of the subject matter. The ideas of fact and truth are, of course, subject to dispute and subjectivity. However, a text can still be classified Non-fiction even if the facts or truths within are disproven or not held by everybody. For example, the Bible, and other religious or mythological works are considered Non-fiction because some people believe them to be fact. Journalism is Non-fiction, even if the story that was reported is later disproven. Provided that the author of the work is writing material that they believe to be factual, or not fictitious, the work qualifies.
There are many types of text that classify as Non-fiction. Some of these are essays, journalism, scientific studies, photographs, biographies, and user manuals. Some texts can fall into either the Fiction or the Non-fiction categories depending on their credentials, such as histories, letters, magazines, and documentaries.
There is a particular niche within the Non-fiction genre called Creative non-fiction, and most (although not all) of the Non-fiction books reviewed on Illiterarty fall into this category. Creative non-fiction refers to the use of literary skills or techniques in the writing of Non-fiction. Some Non-fiction works are considered to be well researched and accurate but boring and badly written. Creative non-fiction should be well researched and believed to be accurate, but also be written in a style that captures the reader’s attention and keeps them engaged and reading. Examples of this are certain autobiographical writings, and the writings of authors such as Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Klosterman, and Chuck Palahniuk.
On occasion, the reputations of Creative non-fiction authors have come under scrutiny and attack for trying to pass writing off as Non-fiction when they know it to be fictitious. However, due to the nature of the Creative non-fiction genre, there will always be room for controversy.
This entry is written purely for informative purposes, so the readers of Illiterarty.com can better understand how we classify our books and can therefore make more informed choices about what to read. We do not claim to be an authorititive source. Quote us in essays/important documents at your own risk!