Today’s there’s no area of life – present or past – that isn’t being made accessible to ordinary readers by men and women writing with high seriousness and grace. Add to this literature of fact all the disciplines that were once regarded as academic, like anthropology and economics and social history, that have become the domain of nonfiction writers and broadly curious readers. Add all the books combining history and biography that have distinguished American letters in recent years. … My roster of the new literature of nonfiction would, in short, include all the writers who come bearing information and who present it with vigor, clarity and humanity.

I’m not saying that fiction is dead. Obviously the novelist can take us into hidden places where no other writer can go: into the deep emotions and the interior life. What I’m saying is that I have no patience with the snobbery that says nonfiction is only journalism by another name and that journalism is a dirty word.