Whose story is it? To begin to know

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This Doctorate of Creative Arts is in two parts: the first, a manuscript (now published; Allen & Unwin 2014) To Begin to Know: Walking in the Shadows of my Father; the second, an exegetical component Whose Story is it: to begin to know. When I set out to write the manuscript, my father, Bernard Leser was still alive. In terms of the exegetical component, this was as professionally daunting as it was personally rewarding. Before he passed away, he read my manuscript, we negotiated sections, and he gave me his blessing. This took us both into a number of deep discussions around ethics, freedom of speech and ownership of stories. It is a tale that involves interrogating the depths of a hybrid memoir: his story and mine, with other family members also in the wings. The exegesis is an attempt to position my memoir on an ethical spectrum, simply answering the question, whose story is it? It comes at a time in literary history when the subject of memoir and ethics has never been more polemical. My conclusion is that this is my story, but with important caveats attached, because no person’s life is lived independently of others.
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