Bolivian Ghosts Exorcised Through Literary Journalism: Discussing First-Person Trauma Narrative

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journalism Practice, 2019
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. IN 2001, a young Argentinian reporter organised a meeting with a union official named Casimiro Huanca, friend and advisor to Bolivian guerrilla leader Evo Morales. It would take the reporter 24 hours to get to their meeting place in Cochabamba, Central Bolivia, through the dangerous depths of the jungle. Reporting for Clarín, the largest newspaper in Buenos Aires at the time, reporter Pablo Calvi did not make it to the meet in Cochabamba. Huanca did and was gunned down on the spot. Calvi did not write the story in 2001. And for 16 years, barely spoke of it, haunted by the belief that he was responsible for this man's death. In 2016, he returned to Bolivia to find answers, publishing them in online magazine Guernica. Through narrative inquiry and textual analysis, this paper unpacks the story's trauma frame through characterisation and structure. It focuses on the subtle use of the first person, arguing that it is an exemplar of narrative placement. This paper discusses the setting of the piece of writing as a slice of trauma memoir in postgraduate and undergraduate creative nonfiction classes, in a bid to demonstrate judicious use of first-person narration.
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