Narrative nonfiction

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Article in Adult Nonfiction, Biography, and Historical categories.

What is narrative nonfiction?

Narrative nonfiction is nonfiction that reads like a novel. It's also called creative nonfiction. Narrative nonfiction is popular because it is informational, well-written, and reads like a story.

Literature and Language


True Crime

As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld.



At the height of WWI, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide.
Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, world-class Robin Hood, Paul Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most.

Animal Stories

  • Huck by Janet Elder
After being diagnosed with cancer, author Janet Elder finally relents to her son's pleas to get a dog, and they bring home a mischievous toy poodle, Huck. When Huck runs away while they are on vacation, the family is frantic, and the search to find him becomes community-wide, bringing together strangers and family like never before.
The true story about a family who buys a zoo and the 200 animals with it, which ultimately changes their lives. Made into a motion picture.

Food Narratives

Sports and Entertainment

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler.
Heroism and sacrifice triumph over foolishness, fatal error, and human frailty in this bone-chilling narrative in which the author recounts his experiences on an ill-fated, deadly climb on Mount Everest.

Travel & Exploration

In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called “The Lost City of Z.”
When the American cargo ship Commerce ran aground on the northwestern shores of Africa in 1815, along with its crew of 12 Connecticut-based soldiers, the misfortunes that befell them came fast and hard, from enslavement to reality-bending bouts of dehydration.
In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.


Larson brings the story of the 1915 sinking of the luxury ocean liner Lusitania to life, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Enhancing the narrative with great characterization, he tells a story that many of us thing we know, but don’t.
December, 1943: A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomber’s tail. The pilot is German ace Franz Stigler—and he can destroy the young American crew with the squeeze of a trigger.
On November 5, 1942, a US cargo plane slammed into the Greenland Ice Cap. Four days later, the B-17 assigned to the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on board survived, and the US military launched a daring rescue operation. But after picking up one man, the Grumman Duck amphibious plane flew into a severe storm and vanished.
In this marvelously entertaining portrait of Belle Époque France, fear and loathing over Eiffel's brash design share the spotlight with the celebrities that made the 1889 Exposition Universelle an event to remember.
The summer of 1927 saw Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, Babe Ruth’s home run record, the first true talking picture, and Al Capone’s reign on bootlegging. All this and much, much more transpired in the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things—and when the twentieth century truly became the American century.
The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor.

Memoirs and Biography

See also Outstanding Memoirs

From the author of Eat, Pray, Love comes the follow-up story, where Gilbert chronicles how she comes to terms with the idea of marriage, which she and Felipe (the man she fell in love with in Bali) now contemplate as it is the only way they can live together in America.
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?


When nurse Norma Bowe decided to teach a course on death at a college in New Jersey, she never expected it to be popular. But year after year students crowd into her classroom, and the reason is clear: Norma’s “death class” is really about how to make the most of our “one wild and precious life.”
In an epic courtroom showdown, two of the nation's largest corporations stand accused of causing the deaths of children. Representing the bereaved parents, the unlikeliest of heroes emerges: a young, flamboyant Porsche-driving lawyer who hopes to win millions of dollars and ends up nearly losing everything, including his sanity.