Poland’s ace reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski accused of fiction-writing

He has been voted the greatest journalist of the 20th century. In an unparalleled career, Ryszard Kapuscinski transformed the humble job of reporting into a literary art, chronicling the wars, coups and bloody revolutions that shook Africa and Latin America in the 1960s and 70s. But a new book claims that the legendary Polish journalist, who died three years ago aged 74, repeatedly crossed the boundary between reportage and fiction-writing – or, to put it less politely, made stuff up. In a 600-page biography of the writer published in Poland Monday, Artur Domoslawski says Kapuscinski often strayed from the strict rules of “Anglo-Saxon journalism”. He was often inaccurate with details, claiming to have witnessed events he was not present at. On other occasions, Kapuscinski invented images to suit his story, departing from reality in the interests of a superior aesthetic truth, Domoslawski claims. The biographer, a correspondent with Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s largest paper, said he did not want to debunk Kapuscinski, whom he described as “my mentor”. Instead, he said, he sought to start a debate over the relationship between truth and fiction, a biographer and his subject, and how far modern Poland remained haunted by its communist past.



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