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The 2017 Seventeenth Annual UMM Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) celebrates student scholarly achievement and creative activities. Students from all disciplines participate in the URS. Types of presentations include posters, oral presentations, and short or abbreviated theatrical, dance, or musical performances. 

Presentations are accompanied by discussions and multimedia.


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Saturday, April 22 • 3:30pm - 3:50pm
Blending Fact and Fiction with Continuing Conversations: The Necessity of Afterwards in Biographical Fiction for Children and Young Adults

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In biographical fiction authors name protagonists after historical figures and take artistic liberties to reveal deeper political, societal, and emotional truths that may conflict with historical fact. Prior conversations on biofiction date back to 1937, but primarily focus on novels for adults. Writers Georg Lukács and Ralph Ellison find biofiction to be an “irredeemable aesthetic form” which distorts truth and believe that historical figures should be left to historians.
Biofiction for children and young adults is more ethically questionable. Young readers may be more likely to accept historical inconsistencies as fact instead of researching and considering the author's reason for them. For example, in Jane Yolen and Robert Harris’s novel Queen’s Own Fool, Mary’s jester, Jardinière, is suspected of murder and flees Edenborough. In the novel, she is taken in by John Knox even though historical records prove he was not in the city during these events. If changes are not explained, young readers could easily take them as fact, leaving them with a skewed perspective on history. However, when authors continue the conversation with readers after the novel is over, they are able to clear up many issues that arise. By analyzing afterwards and author’s notes of several biographical novels I will indicate some virtues and potential dangers of this genre for young readers. Furthermore, I will explain how continuing conversations ease concerns by keeping authors accountable for their changes, giving them more credibility, and giving the readers resources for further learning, allowing them to have a deeper understanding of the truths the author was trying to reveal.


Saturday April 22, 2017 3:30pm - 3:50pm
John Q. Imholte Hall, Room #113 600 E 4th St., Morris MN 56267