During Walt Harrington’s years of writing for The Washington Post Magazine, and more recently as an a book author and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he became engaged in the intricacies of non-fiction memoir-type writing. It’s a style that utilizes not “arm-chair” reporting, as he puts it, but traditional field reporting. In the process, Mr. Harrington became an advocate for and skilled practitioner of a form he dubbed “intimate journalism,” a sub-genre of literary journalism/non-fiction.
Both intimate journalism and literary non-fiction are pinned to the standards of solid reporting, even as the stories explore the deep personal stories of subjects’ lives. The approach combines an attention to accuracy, balance and fairness with creative, descriptive storytelling.
In the study of literary and intimate journalism, Mr. Harrington tells his students to look for “the resonance that is universal. It helps readers see the significance of the story in their own lives.”
Look for the resonance in Harrington’s books: